Kipahulu Moku CBSFA

Kīpahulu ‘Ohana has formally invited the State Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to designate Kīpahulu moku’s nearshore waters as a Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA).

Families in East Maui continue to maintain a significantly subsistence-based lifestyle with traditional fishing, hunting and farming practices updated with appropriate modern methods and tools. Families refer to the ocean as their icebox and the mountain as their pantry, and to this day many families supplement their diets through subsistence practices, and actively pass on these traditions to the younger generations.

Through our 2011 Malama I Ke Kai Community Action Plan, developed over two years with the support of The Nature Conservancy-Maui Marine Program and other partners, with input from more than 50 community members, fishermen, scientists, managers, and teachers, Kīpahulu ‘Ohana has identified the unsustainable harvest of fish, limu (seaweed), and ‘opihi (limpets) as pressing issues contributing to the degradation of the marine environment within the proposed CBSFA designation area. The unsustainable harvest of marine resources leads to decreased productivity and diversity. Harvesting species out of season (during spawning times), harvesting undersized or reproductive individuals, or harvesting too many individuals contributes to the decline of target species.

Over the years, as negative impacts of unsustainable harvesting have caused noticeable decline in the abundance of resources, community members have become increasingly frustrated with the ineffectiveness of state-level management and one-size-fits-all rules that don’t account for local biological, ecological and socioeconomic factors. This has resulted in conflicts between users, renegade actions to protect resources, and continuing decline of resources.

The proposal to designate Kīpahulu moku as a CBSFA was one of the priority actions identified in the Malama I Ke Kai plan in order to address these issues. 

Hawaiʻiʻs CBSFA designation formally recognizes local communities as valued partners in protecting natural resources, and reaffirms and protects traditional and customary practices for subsistence and culture.

The Kipahulu Ohana believes that a CBSFA designation and collaborative management plan can be a tool to help reduce or eliminate unsustainable harvest by changing fishing behavior, allowing fish populations to stabilize and hopefully recover. This will enable future generations to access marine resources for subsistence use and customary practice.

For several years, Kipahulu has been conducting outreach activities to gather input and grow support for CBSFA designation,  including community meetings, individual and family interviews and talk-story sessions, and educational tables at local festivals and other events.

In April 2016, Kipahulu Ohana submitted our Letter of Inquiry to DAR as the initial step in the process, and in July 2016 the Kipahulu received from a feedback form from DAR which indicated formal acceptance of our Letter of Inquiry with instructions to proceed in the application process. We are currently preparing our application and continuing our outreach and education efforts in support of the proposal.

Kipahulu coastline with Oheo Bridge and Cable Ridge
Uncle John shows hau'eu'e
Mapping with chalk
Kukui Bay
Signing Malama Honua pledge
Presentation at HCC 2014
Kipahulu coastline
Ka'apuni for Malama I Ke Kai planning
Group photo at Malama I Ke Kai planning session
Uncle Sam Akoi

CBSFA Resources


According to the Community-based Subsistence Fishing Area Designation Procedures Guide (PDF) published by the Division of Aquatic Resources in 2014:

[The] legislature passed Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS) §188-22.6 in 1994 which gave the DLNR the authority to create community-based subsistence fishing areas (CBSFAs) for the purpose of protecting and reaffirming fishing practices customarily and traditionally exercised for purposes of native Hawaiian subsistence, culture, and religion. Under HRS §188-22.6, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) can designate community-based subsistence fishing areas and carry out fishery management strategies for such areas by adopting rules in accordance with the administrative rule-making procedures for state agencies outlined in HRS Chapter 91. In addition, the CBSFA statute requires that community organizations propose CBSFAs to the DLNR for consideration by submitting a management plan which includes regulatory recommendations.

… CBSFAs represent a state recognized avenue for community groups to mālama‘āina by proposing regulatory recommendations and management activities to sustain the health and abundance of marine resources for current and future generations. In this context, place-based knowledge, acquired through generations of observation, along with the cultural values and associated codes of conduct traditionally governing pono fishing practices, form the foundations of community proposed fisheries management strategies. In this way, CBSFAs represent a more bottom-up approach to fisheries management that is community driven and place-based in nature, as well as an avenue for the DLNR to fulfill its obligation to protect traditional and customary practices as a matter of law, the public trust, and ceded lands trust."