Molokai Hoe, Please Leave Our Fish Alone
By Léo Azambuja
Hawaiian rights activist and homestead farmer Walter Ritte is asking the Molokai Hoe escort boats to be more conscious about the Molokai’s fragile ecosystem.
“No one seems to know what to do about the onslaught of Honolulu fishermen hitting our shorelines,” Ritte said.
Every year, large canoe events, such as the Molokai Hoe and last month’s Na Wahine O Ke Kai, bring hundreds of escort boats to the island. The crew of these boats often dive and fish Molokai’s shoreline for several days before races.
Ritte says the crowd takes massive amounts of fish, lobster and opihi without realizing they are harvesting Molokai’s food source.
“We have been trying for years to get this situation under control,” Ritte said. “But the frequency and number of boats and events have been escalating to an alarming rate.”
In a flyer distributed to escort boat captains, Ritte said it was OK to fish in the open ocean. “But respect our shoreline as our icebox, which we use to feed our families,” he asked.
Clubs that came to compete in the last Na Wahine O Ke Kai were greeted by signs saying “Leave our fish alone.”
The event marked the first time signs were used to warn competitors and guests involved in the outrigger races.
Ritte said the signs were “meant to start the talk and actions to resolve the concerns many residents have over the taking of their food.”
Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association director Carol Young said she would pass the message along to all clubs involved.