2002 is open fishing year off part of Waikiki
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
O'ahu fishermen gained a fishing spot Jan. 1 when the state reopened waters off Waikiki Beach from the 'ewa wall of the Natatorium to the Diamond Head Lighthouse.
The waters make up the Waikiki-Diamond Head Shoreline Fisheries Management Area, where fishing is allowed during even-numbered calendar years.
The area is closed in odd-numbered years to allow fish and other marine life to replenish themselves.
Although fishing is allowed this year, certain restrictions are in place. Gill netting is not allowed, and no other type of net or trap, other than throw nets, is permitted.
The state also prohibits spear fishing between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Allowing fishing during alternate years has been successful, said Brian Kanenaka, aquatic biologist with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. To monitor the program, the state does fish-count surveys before, during and after the fishing seasons.
There are "a lot more fish" thanks to the closed season, Kanenaka said.
When the state first began the program more than 20 years ago, the management area was closed for two years and opened for one. But to reduce the confusion among fishermen, the state went with the odd-even system.
"Our information showed that after a year and a half of closure, the population improved greatly. But the last six months or so of the closure, it didn't really increase that much," Kanenaka said. "And the people who fished the area wanted it to be open every other year."
The waters adjacent to the management area in Waikiki from the 'ewa wall to the Kapahulu groin is closed to fishing at all times. These waters make up the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District, where fishing, possession of fishing gear and removal of any type of marine life are illegal.
Anyone caught fishing in the protected area can face fines of up to $1,000 per violation.
For information on the restrictions, call the Department of Land and Natural Resources at 587-0100.