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CBSFA a Step Toward Hawaiian Self-Governance

Aloha kakou. I am Davianna McGregor, professor of Ethnic Studies and director of the Center for Oral History at UH-Manoa. I live in Hoʻolehua with my life partner, Dr. Aluli.

Recently, some of our neighbors put up signs saying that I should be shame for supporting the Moʻomomi Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA).

Actually, Dr. Aluli and I are proud that for the past 25-plus years, we’ve been part of the Hui Mālama O Moʻomomi team to establish a CBSFA from ʻIliʻo Point to Nihoa.

Why do we support? Well, it was our Hoʻolehua Hawaiian Homestead community, not DLNR, that created the CBSFA designation. In 1993, the Governorʻs Molokai Subsistence Task Force met with Molokai communities about the health of our resources for hunting, fishing, gathering and farming.

Our kupuna observed the fish were not as big or plentiful as when they grew up. They said we need to manage our nearshore ocean in the Hawaiian pono way. Stop the commercial sale and reserve our “icebox” for subsistence only.

While our Hoʻolehua community has the ancestral knowledge and trust to monitor and manage our resources, only DLNR can limit commercial activities. But, when DLNR enforces, they set up no-take areas.

So, our Hoʻolehua homesteaders came up with a new kind of management area. Under the proposed CBSFA, our community will co-manage the nearshore from ʻIlio to Nihoa, out one mile. We propose Hawaiian rules and can change rules. We monitor the area. Our subsistence fishing and gathering is protected! This is a step toward Hawaiian self-governance.

Under the proposed rules, only one species, Uhu ʻeleʻele/uliuli has a no take kapu. Proposed bag limits for four threatened species, still allow a combined take of 26 iʻa per person per day. This is a lawaiʻa pono system that will put food on our table and keep our resources sustainable for our keiki and future generations.

We continue to have aloha and respect for our neighbors because we all want what is best for our community, especially in this time of climate change and COVID-19. We can malama together.

Mahalo and aloha,

Davianna Pomaikaʻi McGregor and Noa Emmett Aluli


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