Honolulu (KHON2) – Halfway through the 10-year fishing rest period, the Kaupulehu Marine Reserve in partnership with The Nature Conservancy is successfully replenishing the fish population for future generations.

Designed by members of the Ka‘ūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee (KMLAC), the marine reserve covers 3.6-miles of the Kaʻūpūlehu coastline.

“The Kaʻūpūlehu Marine Reserve was officially created in 2016, after many years of work by the KMLAC and with widespread community support, which established a ten year rest period where fishing was paused, to allow the fish stocks to replenish so that fishing can resume in the year 2026 with proper and ponomanagement in place so we can have food for future generations,” says Kaikea Nakachi, Kaʻūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee member, waterman, photographer, shark researcher. 

Since 2009, The Nature Conservancy has conducted thousands of surveys to learn more in assisting efforts of the community to replenish its local fisheries.

“It is a testament to the communities thoughtful planning and sacrifice during this ten year rest period, so that future generations will have food and the reef will be managed from a place of health and abundance, rather than depletion. The results we are seeing in the water are truly outstanding. We are seeing the fish that are the most desirable to eat increase by 256% inside the Kaupulehu Marine Reserve since 2016,” says Rebecca Most, Hawaii Island Marine Program Director, The Nature Conservancy, Hawai‘i and Palmyra. 

With the significant increase, Most and her team feel that these statistics were expected.

Most says, “This growth demonstrates that when we give nature time to rest, the rewards are substantial, and they happen quickly. What appears to be happening is that the fish that were already there are getting much bigger and therefore are producing more young. And the fish that have shorter life spans are increasing in population fast. While this is expected, it’s exciting and we are only about halfway through the rest period. Because ten years was chosen to give the larger more long-lived species a chance to recover as well, we expect to see even higher increases of the next few years before fishing resumes in the year 2026.”

Community members looking to assist alongside the Ka‘ūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee  and its efforts, can learn more via their official website. 




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