Non-Commercial Fishing in Policy, Practice, and Culture
This study examined existing documents to better understand non-commercial aspects of fishing in policy and practice in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that may be useful in developing the PMNM MEA management plan.
In 2016, Presidential Proclamation 9478 expanded the boundaries of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM, or original Monument), creating a new Monument Expansion Area (MEA).
Presidential Proclamation 9478 prohibits commercial fishing in the MEA and allows the potential for permitting non-commercial fishing. The development of a management plan and complementary fishing regulations for the MEA will specify conditions under which non-commercial fishing may occur.
As of this writing, the regulations have yet to be drafted. Once completed, they will be promulgated in coordination between the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.
This study examined existing documents to better understand non-commercial aspects of multiple types of fishing in policy and practice in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that may be useful in developing the PMNM MEA management plan.
Rigorous efforts to document commercial fishing practices were conducted prior to and following the establishment of the original Monument. Since then, numerous other studies have described the difficulties associated with clearly separating commercial and non-commercial fishing motives and values throughout Hawaiʻi.
The findings of these studies indicate that the cultural and other values and meanings people ascribe to their fishing activities could have implications for the development of non-commercial fishing regulations. Therefore, we reviewed available studies of diverse fishing experiences in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, including commercial fishing, to identify important non-commercial fishing motives, values, and sociocultural meanings.
We found that although current Monument regulations allow for sustenance and subsistence fishing associated with permitted activities such as Native Hawaiian cultural practices, other important non-commercial practices are not included. These include harvesting fish for home use or for sharing with local communities.
Contributing to food security in the main Hawaiian Islands, accessing better quality fishing opportunities, finding fulfillment and pleasure, and reinforcing cultural and fisher identities also emerged as important non-commercial fishing contributions, although they were often secondary to the primary purpose of the trip. These aspects may be important to consider in managing non-commercial fishing in the PMNM MEA.
The available documents analyzed for this report focused on fishing experiences within the original Monument boundary from existing studies that were not specifically designed to examine non-commercial fishing. Future studies that focus on the MEA and collect additional primary data (e.g., through interviews specifically focused on non-commercial dimensions of fishing) are needed to fully illuminate the diverse meanings, values, and practices associated with non-commercial fishing in U.S. marine protected areas in the western Pacific region.
Iwane M, Leong KM, Kleiber D. 2021. Non-commercial Fishing in Policy, Practice, and Culture: Insights from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-114, 43 p. https://doi.org/10.25923/r365-2f47.