Kaupulehu Marine Reserve continues its mission to replenish the fish stock for future generations


Honolulu (KHON2) – Halfway through the 10-year fishing rest period, Kaupulehu Marine Reserve, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, is successfully rebuilding 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 Ka’ūpūlehu’s coastline.

“Kaʻūpūlehu Marine Reserve was officially established in 2016, after many years of work by KMLAC and with broad support from the community, which established a ten-year rest period where fishing was halted, to allow fish stocks to recover so that fishing can resume in the year 2026 with good and ponomanagement in place so that we can have food for future generations,” says Kaikea Nakachi, Life Advisory Committee Member Kaʻūpūlehu Navy, sailor, photographer, shark researcher.

Since 2009, The Nature Conservancy has conducted thousands of surveys to learn about community efforts to restore their local fisheries.

“It is a testament to the thoughtful planning and sacrifices of the communities during this ten-year period of rest, 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 exceptional. We are seeing the most desirable fish to eat increase by 256% in 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 his team believe these statistics were expected.

Most say, “This growth demonstrates that when we give nature time to rest, the rewards are substantial and they happen quickly. What seems to be happening is that the fish that were already there are getting much bigger and therefore producing more young. And fish that have a shorter lifespan increase rapidly in population. Although expected, it’s exciting and we’re only halfway through the rest period. Because ten years were chosen to give larger, more sustainable species a chance to recover as well, we expect to see even larger increases over the next few years before fishing resumes in 2026.”

Community members who wish to help alongside the Ka’ūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee and its efforts can find out more through their official website.

Websites:

www.nature.org/HawaiiPalmyra

https://www.facebook.com/KMLAC/

Social media handles:

@nature_hi_Pal, #natureHiPal

@kaupulehu.mlac

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