Short Citation:
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, 2021: Coastal Use Mapping Project - Northwest Hawai'i,

Item Identification

Title: Coastal Use Mapping Project - Northwest Hawai'i
Short Name: HI_Big_Island
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2011-03-01

The Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project is an innovative partnership between NOAA's National Marine Protected Areas Center, NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, NOAA's Pacific Islands Regional Office, and the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources. The project was designed to enhance ocean management by gathering geospatial data on human uses of the nearshore ocean environment in the Kawaihae-Keahole region of Hawaii. The data were collected from regional ocean experts and users through participatory GIS methods. For more information on the project scope, background and related data products, please visit


The Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project fills a critical information gap in ocean management by providing an unprecedented, comprehensive, consistent and spatially explicit picture of human uses for management agencies, policy makers and stakeholders interested in sound and equitable ocean governance. Using participatory GIS concepts and applications, the mapping project generated spatial data and map products illustrating patterns, intensity, and qualitative information on both extractive and non-extractive/recreational uses. The resulting datasets depict patterns of ocean use on a broad scale appropriate for a variety of ocean planning and management needs. Specifically, the data will be used by DAR and The Nature Conservancy in a Conservation Action Planning process engaging local stakeholders in resource management and protection.



Supplemental Information:

Supplemental information gathered on ocean uses during workshops:

Aquarium Collecting includes use of all gear types to collect fish and invertebrates for aquarium purposes, as well as shrimp to feed tropical fish. Does not include any collection for species to be eaten and/or sold as food. Collection can occur anywhere up to 140 feet, as long as it is not done in an FRA or MLCD. This is a daytime activity that is swell dependent. The majority of activity takes place between 20-85 feet. Yellow tang compromise the majority of fish taken, and location varies by targeted species. Some conflict exists between aquarium collectors and other types of users in the region. Camping includes all overnight camping for fishing or recreational purposes, as well as homeless encampments, whether permitted or non-permitted. Camping can occur in any accessible location along the entire coast of the region. While camping occurs frequently in the mapped locations shown along the coast, it is only permitted (legally) at Hapuna, Spencer Beach Park, and Makalawena. The activity occurs more frequently during holidays, fishing tournaments, weekends, and school breaks, and less frequently during rains and bad weather. Issues of land ownership and access have changed the nature of camping in the region. Maintaining access to locations for responsible camping is considered important for local wellness, but in some cases camping has degenerated into partying (drinking, drug use, loud music) that brings potential for conflict. Charter Boating and Mammal Watching includes dolphin tours, whale-watching tours, scenic tours, and bare boat rentals. It does not include non-commercial activities. Charter mammal watching is associated with seasonal whale migration patterns. Most charter operators are based out of the Kona area and come north. Dolphin watching can occur year-round, and is more heavily concentrated in the southern part of the region, close to shore. Whales are present in the region from November/December until April/May, and most whale-watching activity is concentrated during these months in the northern part of the region, from shore to 2 miles out. Individual whales stay in the area from 2-3 weeks, and boat traffic is continuous when whales are present. Dolphin harassment has been noted as a concern for some tour operators. Charter Diving and Snorkeling includes diving and snorkeling activities organized through a commercial operator, including vessel and shore-based SCUBA, SNUBA, snorkel, freediving, and kayak snorkel tours, including rentals. Swimming, speardiving or extractive activities, and non-commercial diving and snorkeling are not included in this category. This activity occurs less during the winter swells, and more often during the calm summer season (June to September). High tourist visitation increases this use during the holiday periods around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring break. This use is tightly associated with mooring buoys and nearshore reefs (for general diving and snorkeling) and also follows dolphin pods (for snorkeling with dolphins). Locations are also season and swell-dependent. Shoreline Gathering includes shoreline gathering of (most) invertebrates; does not include harvesting lobsters or diving on the reef. Use patterns and locations vary by species: urchins/wana are found in inter-tidal areas and tide pools, opihi and haukeuke are found on steeper ocean cliffs, shells are harvested predominantly in sandy areas (although sometimes in rocky areas). Limu, crab, and sea cucumbers are all found in their own distinct regions. Opihi is collected in the spring for graduations, summer for commercial purposes, and fall/winter for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is also targeted for weddings, baby luau, and family parties. Wana and haukeuke are harvested in from August/September until December. Harvested organisms can be frozen for use later in the year. Harvesting occurs less frequently during the winter swells. Gill Nets includes fishing using gill net, cross net, barricade net, lay net and drift net. Does not include fishing for aquarium collection, surround net fishing, or throw net. There are 47 registered nets in this region. The activity is illegal in most areas that would be suitable for this type of fishing (due to FMAs and MLCDs), and heavily regulated elsewhere. What limited activity that does take place is mostly done covertly at night. Heavy surf curtails the activity, which takes place in shallow water (0-7 feet). It has become very rare in the region, although it was used more frequently in the past. No area in the region was considered dominant for this type of fishing. Net Fishing from a Boat this includes surround net, opelu net, bag net, Kona crab net, and lobster net, but excludes throw nets and gill nets. This activity is not considered a dominant use in the region as the frequency has decreased over the past 20 years, although fishing for akule and opelu is still considered culturally significant (current and/or traditional surround-net areas are shown with dashed lines). Akule fishing generally takes place during the spring, whereas opelu fishing takes place in the fall. These aggregations are usually found in bays with freshwater input, whereas Kona crab and lobster are found further offshore. Kona crab and lobster fishing happens more frequently than fishing for opelu and akule, but specific fishing locations are considered sensitive information and are generally not revealed. Non-charter Diving and Snorkeling includes shore-based and vessel-based SCUBA, snorkel, and free-diving activities that are not for the purpose of fishing or gathering. Does not include research, spearfishing, extractive activities, trolling, or commercial activities. While this activity can occur out to approximately 130 feet, dominant use areas are coastal and concentrated near hotels and coastal access points. The activity occurs year-round, but is more frequent during summer months and less frequent during winter swells. The majority of local non-charter diving and snorkeling is based on taking (i.e., collection or fishing), so this is not a highly frequent local activity for local residents. Non-motorized, Non-charter Boating includes activities such as outrigger canoe paddling (individual and team), racing, paddle driven kayaking, kayak-based snorkeling or freediving, and flatwater stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Excludes commercial boating activities, use of motorized vessels, and surf-style SUP. This activity can take place in the entire region, although dominant areas are the areas surrounding vessel launch points. Winter swells can decrease activities from September through March, although whale watchers may go further out during this time. Kayaking is more frequent in the morning before the winds pick up. Much of the activity is driven by events including the Kukio challenge, regattas out of Kawaihae, Honu and Lavaman triathlons (where support vessels go out), sailing competitions, and paddling races, etc. Pole and Line Fishing from a Boat includes boat-based bottom fishing, trolling, pole and line, and handlining (both charter and non-charter operations). Excludes pole and line fishing from shore. This activity can take place in the entire region; however, it is concentrated in non-protected areas, out to 100 fathoms. Bottomfishing is more common during the fall and winter. The Ulua Challenge increases fishing for ulua during the summer. Ahi is also more commonly targeted during summer months, and other fishing events are tournament-driven (mostly spring and summer). Seasons and regulations are species-specific. Pole and Line Fishing from Shore includes shore-based dunking, whipping, bamboo, and fly fishing activities (both charter and non-charter operations). Excludes pole and line fishing from a boat. Shore-based fishing largely depends on access points; although the entire coast is fished to some degree, activities are concentrated near coastal access roads, but outside of heavy tourist-use areas. Fishing is more common during the weekends and summer (when there are also more tournaments). Both day and night fishing occur, although night fishing depends on the moon. Mullet is traditionally off limits during the winter, and often fishing locations are specific to targeted species. This activity is considered an important dietary contribution for local subsistence purposes. Spearfishing includes both freediving and SCUBA in-water use of spear (gun, 3-prong). Excludes shoreline gathering with a spear. Spearfishing occurs in the entire region, although heaviest use is concentrated around vehicle access points (particularly for SCUBA-based activities). Boat-based activities occur near moorings and FADs. Activity is most frequent during summer months when swells are down, and is reduced from December through March. Octopus are targeted during their mating season (October-January). September fishing tournaments increase the frequency of spearfishing. Roi roundups occur in Kawaihae in June. Night-time activity is associated with camping. Commercial spearfishing is generally conducted at deeper depths (up to 150 feet SCUBA limit) than subsistence or recreational spearfishing (generally less than 60 feet maximum depth). The heaviest pressure is at less than 20 feet. Surfing includes surfing, surf-style SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), windsurfing, kite surfing, and boogie-boarding. Does not include flatwater SUP. Locations are seasonal, weather, and swell-dependent. Winter North swells (September to March) bring about an increase in activity. Summer swells are from the South. Kawaihae, Mahaiula, and Kukio have winter surf contests. Activity is concentrated 20-40 yards offshore, where the reef ends. Areas further offshore are generally used for kite surfing. Swimming includes racing, general exercise, and triathlons (both group and individual activities). Does not include freediving, snorkeling, or wading. Activity is generally concentrated near access points (harbors, piers, other), and usually not more than 100 yards offshore. More activity occurs during summer and during daytime hours, and is dependent on water conditions (decreasing during winter swells from September through March). Activity increases during the Lavaman triathlon (early summer). Organized swimming events take place in Hapuna, Anaehoomalu Bay, and Kukio. Thrill Craft and High-Speed Activities includes parasailing tours, use of jet boats, jet skis, motorized kayaks, and coastal off-roading. Excludes use of non-motorized vessels. This activity can take place within the entire region, but it is not considered a dominant use for most locations. Dominant use takes place near the launch points at Puako and Kawaihae. Jet skis are frequently used as support vessels for organized swimming and non-motorized vessel events. Off-roading sometimes takes place North of Kawaihae. The activity is not legal within the Ocean Recreational Management Area (ORMA), which extends from the low-water mark to 3000 feet from shore, but this is not enforced. There is a need for training areas for these vessels (which are considered essential for safety purposes), but some residents find them undesirable. Throw Nets includes any type of throw net, but excludes use of nets for aquarium collection, opelu /akule fishing, and gill or lay nets. This activity generally takes place at up to a depth of 5 feet and is concentrated around vehicle coastal access points. Throw nets are usually not used along cliffs or sandy areas, and targeted areas depend on both species and season. This activity is generally conducted during the daytime on an incoming tide. The catch varies by cultural preference; some target specific species, whereas others target whatever species can be caught. The activity is conducted for subsistence, cultural, as well as recreational purposes, and is considered a fun activity for local children.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Geospatial Platform OceanCommunity
ISO 19115 Topic Category environment
ISO 19115 Topic Category geoscientificInformation
ISO 19115 Topic Category oceans
ISO 19115 Topic Category society
NOS Data Explorer Topic Category Socioeconomics
None Aquarium Collecting
None Boating
None Camping
None Charter Diving
None Charter Fishing
None Charter Snorkeling
None Fishing
None Gill Nets
None Jet Skis
None Kayak Fishing
None Net Fishing
None Non-Extractive Use
None Ocean Use
None Ocean Uses
None Paddling
None Pole and Line Fishing
None Recreational Boat Fishing
None Recreational Dive Fishing
None Recreational Harvest
None Recreational Use
None Sailing
None Shore Fishing
None Shoreline Gathering
None Snorkeling
None Spearfishing
None Surround Nets
None Swimming
None Thrill Craft
None Throw Nets
None Water Sports
None Wildlife Viewing

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Hawaii
None Kawaihae
None Kawaihae Bay
None Kiholo Bay
None Kohala
None Kona
None Pacific Ocean
None Puako
None State Waters

Physical Location

Organization: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: vector digital data
Entity Attribute Overview:

Aquarium Collecting includes use of all gear types to collect fish and invertebrates for aquarium purposes, as well as shrimp to feed tropical fish. Does not include any collection for species to be eaten and/or sold as food.

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:

All use types and project information can be found at

Distribution Liability:

Data describe broad uses of the ocean, and are not intended to be used for navigational purposes or provide information on regulations affecting human activities.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 497106
Date Effective From: 2011-03-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): MPA Data Manager
Address: 99 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940
Email Address:
Phone: 831-647-6462
Fax: 831-647-1732


CC ID: 497108
Date Effective From: 2011-03-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): MPA Data Manager
Address: 99 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940
Email Address:
Phone: 831-647-6462
Fax: 831-647-1732

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 497109
Date Effective From: 2011-03-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): MPA Data Manager
Address: 99 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940
Email Address:
Phone: 831-647-6462
Fax: 831-647-1732

Point of Contact

CC ID: 497107
Date Effective From: 2011-03-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): MPA Data Manager
Address: 99 Pacific Street
Monterey, CA 93940
Email Address:
Phone: 831-647-6462
Fax: 831-647-1732


Currentness Reference: Publication Date

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 497112
W° Bound: -156.10575
E° Bound: -155.817501
N° Bound: 20.085336
S° Bound: 19.77018

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 497111
Time Frame Type: Discrete
Start: 2010-09-30

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 587915
Complex Object Present?: Yes
Complex Object Count: 26845

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

Coastal Use Mapping Project data describe broad uses of the ocean, and are not intended to be used for navigational purposes or provide information on regulations affecting human activities.

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 497162
Activity Date/Time: 2013-03-01

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 497161
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05

Converted from FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 587913
Activity Date/Time: 2017-09-13

Partial upload of Spatial Info section only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 601941
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-01

Replaced entire Lineage section to populate new Source Contribution field.

Activity Log 5

CC ID: 718819
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Technical Environment


Microsoft Windows XP Version 5.1 (Build 2600) Service Pack 3; ESRI ArcCatalog

Data Quality


Attribute accuracy was maintained by comparing data before and after each process step, and by comparing final product to source data.

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Workshops were conducted at a maximum scale of 1:10,000. During post processing, original workshop polygons were aggregated to an ordered 400 meter squared grid, so exact use locations within each block are not discernible. Data are intended to portray broad patterns for each use at a comparable scale to inform ocean management but are not intended for navigation or enforcement purposes.

Completeness Report:

2 uses, Gill nets and Net fishing from boat, were determined by workshop participants to have a general use footprint but no dominant use area. This is because the uses have declined so drastically (due to species decline, regulations, or changes in cultural traditions) that they can no longer be considered dominant anywhere within the study area.

Conceptual Consistency:

Logical consistency was maintained by comparing data before and after each process step, and by comparing final product to source data.



MPA Inventory GIS Database

CC ID: 601942
Contact Name: Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM), National Marine Protected Areas Center (MPAC)
Publish Date: 2008-03-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2008-03
Citation URL:
Source Contribution:

The MPA Inventory was used to erase areas where particular fishing uses are prohibited. | Source Geospatial Form: vector digital data | Type of Source Media: online

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 601943

Data were digitized by workshop participant groups in Kaupulehu, HI

Process Date/Time: 2010-09-01 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 601944

Data from each group were reviewed following the workshop to: a. Detail any instructions from participants to add/remove areas in post-processing b. Review GIS technician and facilitator workshop notes for any relevant data-editing comments c. Discuss any areas that might require special attention or follow up.

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 3

CC ID: 601945

Data were processed by Project GIS Specialist to clean artifacts created during the live, participatory mapping process.

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 4

CC ID: 601946

All polygons were clipped to the project boundary to remove land and any marine areas outside the scope of the workshop.

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 5

CC ID: 601947

Use-specific procedures were performed based on participant input. This involved adding or removing areas as instructed by workshop participants based on certain depths or distances from shore.

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 6

CC ID: 601948

A spatial join analysis was run for each use using 400 meter squared microblocks as the zonal layer to determine the number of groups that identified a use in each grid cell.

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 7

CC ID: 601949

Data normalized for each use. For the footprint, an analysis cell with any number greater than 0 became a 1. For dominant, if the number of workshop groups who mapped a cell as dominant was at or greater than 50% of the groups who mapped that use, the value became a 1. All other cells became a 0, so that the final field values are binary (1= Yes, 0 = No)

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 8

CC ID: 601950

Areas where particular fishing uses were mapped but are prohibited were erased from the dataset. The fishing closure areas were determined by a combination of workshop input, published regulations, and the MPA Center Inventory. The MPA Inventory v.1 can be found online at

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00
Source: MPA Inventory GIS Database

Process Step 9

CC ID: 601951

Processed data was analyzed for completeness and consistency. Uses that seemed inconsistent or incomplete were marked for further investigation.

Process Date/Time: 2010-10-01 00:00:00

Process Step 10

CC ID: 601952

A follow-up meeting with workshop participants was held for comment on preliminary results. Participant input was recorded for future edits.

Process Date/Time: 2010-11-01 00:00:00

Process Step 11

CC ID: 601953

Final edits made to dataset based on participant response.

Process Date/Time: 2010-12-01 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity (ENT) Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project - North Kona and South Kohala

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 40001
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 14:27+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2019-06-04 13:14+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-02-08
Owner Org: ONMS
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-02-09