DLNR: Swimmers and fishers asked to share aloha in the ocean
HONOLULU – After the lifting of certain restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people returned to Hawaii’s ocean waters. Akin to “playing well with others in the sandbox,” the state Department of Land & Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is encouraging swimmers and fishers to share aloha when in the water.
Summer is the season for inshore fishing for ‘oama, papio, halalu, sardines and a number of other fish species.
Fishers go where the fish are, and this summer fish are showing up in places that haven’t usually been popular fishing sites.
Some of these same places are also frequented by swimmers.
“We’ve been seeing higher than usual fishing activity around the state ever since April, when the governor allowed people to cross closed state beaches in order to fish,” said Brian Neilson, DAR administrator.
“In a few locations, fishers and swimmers have been using the same areas, which can lead to potential conflicts.”
According to Neilson, DAR staff have been monitoring activity and conducting outreach in these areas.
“Swimmers might be upset that fishers are showing up for the first time in places where they’ve been swimming for years, but they need to understand that fishers have the same rights to those waters as swimmers do,” he said.
“We’ve been reminding fishers to use caution to keep swimmers and others safe,” Neilson continued.
“And we’re asking swimmers not to interfere with fishing activity – to try and avoid specific areas where people are fishing. Many fishers are trying to put food on their table.”
Neilson concluded, “There’s plenty of room in the ocean for everyone. All we ask is that people fish and swim with aloha.”