Ethnocentric Fishing Practices Threaten Hawaiian Communities
IPS, 4 August 2011

WASHINGTON, USA: A joint lawsuit recently filed in Hawaii’s Federal District Courtagainst the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals the interconnectedness of environmental destruction and violations of native people’s rights. Filed by the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance (KAHEA), in conjunction with the national consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch (FWW), the suit challenges a “fishing gear” permit issued to Kona Blue Water Farms, by the National Marine Fisheries Service, for its open aquaculture “aquapods” stationed in the Alenuihaha Channel, off the west coast of the BigIsland. According to a detailed report by FWW entitled “The Empty Promise of Ocean Aquaculture in Hawaii”, “open-water aquaculture is the mass production of fish using floating net pens or cages in the ocean, similar to the concentrated animal feedlots on land for hogs and chickens.” KAHEA, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of its members in the local community, blasted Kona Blue’s practices as ethnocentric and highly disrespectful of ancient and traditional forms of fishing that are still very much alive on the Big Island. “It’s offensive to Hawaiians to raise fish in this monoculture style, when they have a strong tradition of aquaculture using fish ponds close to shore that house multiple species of herbivore fish, essentially creating a microcosm of the overall ocean’s ecosystem,” Marti Townsend told IPS. Read the article …