Mohala na Konohiki: Developing the next generation of ocean stewards and fisheries managers
About the Implementing organization
Name: Hui Malama o Moomomi
Country: United States
Year of establishment: 1993
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Indigenous group or organization, Ethnic minority group or association
The State of Hawaii follows centralized top-down governance in its natural resource management model. Globally, this is proving inadequate as climate change requires place based, adaptable solutions and indigenous and local communities that have been traditional stewards of their places are assuming a stronger role. In Hawaii the terms konohiki and “ahupuaa system” (ridge to reef management) have become synonymous with this shift. Changing and integrating centralized systems takes time, training and leadership to practice and understand more traditional, place-based, and civil-oriented processes. HMM influences this systemic change through the following pathways:
1) A model for 21st century konohiki management requires perpetuating the cultural practice of traditional marine resources management by individuals and communities. HMM has been doing this for over twenty years through the mentorship of young fishers of the area and community education and workdays.
2) The daunting scale of systemic change is difficult for communities or leaders to bear alone. HMM played a founding role in the development of E Alu Pu (move forward together), the largest and oldest generative network of rural and Native Hawaiian communities.
3) HMM was a lead advocate for the development of an Aha Moku Advisory Council within the State of Hawaii. Aha Moku are island and district councils of place based experts and practitioners who advise State policy and action.
Oceans / Coasts
Type of Action
Protection / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Food security / Health / Climate action
HMM has directly and positively impacted statewide ocean health awareness and a movement for community based natural resource management (CBNRM). HMM inspired a statewide law to implement community based subsistence fishing areas (CBSFA) and the development of the Aha Moku Advisory Council, a CBNRM advisory body within the State. HMM has focused on the development of traditional Molokai district councils of place based experts to inform its current CBSFA draft rules for the island of Molokai. HMM also catalyzed the development of a statewide movement to empower CBNRM known as E Alu Pu (Move Forward Together!). Today E Alu Pu convenes over 30 communities statewide to engage in CBNRM initiatives and increase broader statewide acceptance of the practice.
HMM’s long term investments continue to bear fruit for conservation in Hawaii and have garnered local and international recognition through partnerships with other communities, scientists and various publications.
Sustainable Development Impacts
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans.
HMM addresses the UN SDG 14 by the perpetuation of place-based monitoring and protocols to guide pono (virtuous) fishing and marine resource management. These practices perpetuate a sustainable and healthy subsistence-based lifestyle that supports physical health and nutrition. Not only does it lead to greater health benefits and fisheries it rebuilds a foundation for community spiritual and cultural well being.
SDG 16: Promote peaceful inclusive societies.
HMM addresses SDG 16 by bringing natural resource management decision-making approaches closer to the ground. HMM is also at the forefront of discussions about historic injustices and Hawaii’s Native Hawaiian community. This process is inherently tied to communal healing and bound to a sense of self-determination and resonate with the spirit of reconciliation set forth in the United State apology for its role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian government.
HMM has a direct long term impact on the well being of its community, its fisheries and the perpetuation of cultural values and practices. Youth from across Molokai benefit from education and work days at the beach and fishermen have evolved their practice to respect and replenish the fishery by changing conduct and helping HMM monitor the fishery. This work has led to a movement to develop community-based subsistence fishing areas and other forms of community-based natural resource management on land and sea. It has helped move our state forward to change the context of the work so it is increasingly open to community co-governance.
The model of inter-generational exchange to teach and rally around a practice is universal and can be applied across any geography or culture. To maintain a practice or tradition, practitioners must “practice” and “teach” the next generation. These inter-generational exchanges can be any activities (farming, fishing, hunting, medicine, art and dance).
HMM’s leadership on community based natural resource management inspires similar initiatives across the state. Sharing through the E Alu Pu network leads to replicability between communities. Marine management techniques and skills passed down generations can be used by practitioners in other geographies. Konohiki practitioners apply and adapt methods across various habitats and communities.
The community based subsistence fishery area (CBSFA) law has begun to bear fruit but is also a great challenge to an under-resourced Department of Land and Natural Resources. The intent of the law is to allow local people of an area to develop rules based on their place based traditional fishing practices, and to replicate a process that respects and allows for diversity between and among communities and their resources. The first CBSFA in the 20 years since HMM inspired the law was created in 2105. HMM currently has their own rule package currently being reviewed by the state of Hawaii.
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