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The use of traditional Hawaiian knowledge in the contemporary management of marine resources

September 11, 2003

It is traditional for Hawaiians to "consult nature" so that fishing is practiced at times and places, and with gear that causes minimum disruption of natural biological and ecological processes. The Ho'olehua Hawaiian Homestead continues this tradition in and around Mo'omomi Bay on the northwest coast of the island of Moloka'i. This community relies heavily on inshore marine resources for subsistence and consequently, has an intimate knowledge of these resources. The shared knowledge, beliefs, and values of the community are culturally channeled to promote proper fishing behavior. This informal system brings more knowledge, experience, and moral commitment to fishery conservation than more centralized government management. Community-based management in the Mo'omomi area involves observational processes and problem-solving strategies for the purpose of conservation. The system is not articulated in the manner of Western science, but relies instead on mental models. These models foster a practical understanding of local inshore resource dynamics by the fishing community and, thus, lend credibility to unwritten standards for fishing conduct. The "code of conduct" is concerned with how people fish rather than how much they catch.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2003
Title The use of traditional Hawaiian knowledge in the contemporary management of marine resources
DOI
Authors Kelson K. Poepoe, Paul K. Bartram, Alan M. Friedlander
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fisheries Center Research Reports
Series Number
Index ID 70039858
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization