Molokai Fishermen Update

Local fishermen discuss future of Mo`omomi.

By Léo Azambuja

Local fishermen met in Ho`olehua last week to discuss the future of Mo`omomi, and also the newly approved Molokai exemption on a state lay-net law.

An agreement issued April 1, 2007 between Hui Malama Mo`omomi and the State Deparment of Hawaiian Home Lands assured proper care and management of Mo`omomi Cultural Park. Hui Malama Mo`omomi now has a license until April 2012 to regulate entry and camping permits at Mo`omomi.

Under the agreement license, Hui Malama Mo`omomi is responsible for all issues concerning the lands at Mo`omomi, including security, liability insurance, tax and utilities expenses and all maintenance and repairs.

Hui Malama Mo`omomi member Halealoha Ayau said he wants to make sure that “generations down the line Mo`omomi is not just there, but also healthy.”

The fruits of the agreement are already visible. “I lived here all my life,” Opu`ulani Albino said. “Mo`omomi has never been healthier.” She also thanked Mac Poepoe for heading the conservation and managing efforts at Mo`omomi.

Molokai residents who wish to camp at Mo`omomi will have to spend $25 on a camping permit, payable to Hui Malama Mo`omomi. Visitors, including those coming from other islands, are allowed to camp only when accompanied by a Molokai resident.

Ayau said the not-for-profit organization will use the funds from camping fees to help with the managing and repair expenses of Mo`omomi.

Lay-net regulation was also discussed at the meeting.

Kanoho Helm praised the hard work of some Molokai residents who lobbied for a house bill that gave Molokai fisherman an exemption from complying with a state law regulating lay-net procedures.

Current state law allows permits only one-piece lay gill net up to seven-feet tall and 125-feet long. The stretched mesh cannot be less than 2 and three-quarter inches wide. Also, a fisherman can leave a lay-net in the ocean for a period of no more than four hours in any 24-hour period.

Molokai fishermen still have to go through the process of registering their lay-net, like other fishermen statewide. But local fishermen can use a six-piece lay-net not exceeding 750-feet in length. They can lay the net for a period of 12 hours, inspecting it at least twice, and can not use it again for at least 24 hours.

Helm said the exemption is a good thing for Molokai, because it helps to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.

Attendance at the meeting was not as high as the organizers, Karen and Mac Poepoe, expected. Only ten people showed up, as opposed to dozens in past fishermen’s meetings in Lanikeha. They said they will try to advertise better about future meetings so more residents will be able to attend.


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