HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii fishermen on Monday asked policymakers to address how runoff caused by land development harms reefs, fisheries and oceans when they consider how to cope with the effects of climate change.
Ocean health can’t be looked at in segments, Oahu fisherman Roy Morioka told a committee of the federal body responsible for managing fisheries around Hawaii and other parts of the western Pacific region.
Government officials need to take a comprehensive approach, Morioka told a Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council committee on ecosystem management in Hawaii.
“You need to pull it all together. Because not one thing is the issue, it’s a collective thing that is the issue,” Morioka said.
Carl Jellings, of Waianae, told the committee that fishermen are often told reefs are unhealthy because of overfishing. Fishermen like him are scapegoats, he said.
He argued that what happens on land is one cause of deteriorating reefs. But he says fishermen can’t control what happens “up mauka,” or toward the mountains.
“We fight every day so we can continue fishing. It’s getting harder and harder because more things are happening in the environment that we’re getting blamed for,” Jellings said.
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