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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Loss of fish stocks a worrisome trend

If there is an increasing shortage of fish in Hawai'i's waters, there is no shortage of proposals — often conflicting — on what to do about it.

As reported by science writer Jan TenBruggencate, there has been a dramatic decline in the populations of popular nearshore fish such as bonefish, mullet and groupers.

This is serious news both to commercial fisheries as well as the recreational fisherman who enjoys casting a line or diving for dinner.

Unfortunately, while there is general agreement that the decline in fish stocks is real , there is little unanimity over what should be done about it.

Recognizing the levels of disagreement within the fishing community, the state Division of Aquatic Resources is — wisely — moving slowly with a package of new rules and regulations aimed at stopping the decline in fish stocks.

The fishing community insists that new regulations should be built from the ground up; that is, after full consultation with community groups and local fishermen. That makes sense, because it is the folks who use this resource the most who will have the best and most direct ideas about what is needed to protect it.