Honolulu Star Bulletin (11/11/00)
By Ray Pendleton
All too often, it seems, the world's fisheries have been managed somewhat like the passenger pigeon population.
You remember the passenger pigeon. It was an abundant game bird species in North America in the early part of the last century. Somehow, it was allowed to be hunted until the last bird was blown from the sky.
In a similar fashion, whalers in the 1900's nearly hunted the world's cetaceans to extinction, and even now, commercial fishermen continue to decimate one fishery after another, ocean by ocean.
Rather than studying the health of the world's fisheries for signs of weakness, this management style tends to avoid making the decision of when to slow or stop the harvest until a species has entirely disappeared.
In a direct departure from this form of management, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Hawaii's Division of Aquatic Resources (HDAR) have recently announced their plans for a partnership to reintroduce recreational fishing data collection in Hawai`i.
Such data-gathering has not been done in this state since 1981, due to budget constraints.
As a part of the U.S. Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey, the data gathered will provide fishery managers with the information they need to ensure quality marine angling in Hawai`i.
"We are excited by the prospect of working with the NMFS to once again provide Hawai`i data for fisheries management," said state Programs Manager Mike Nelson.
"This will give all of us involved in Hawaii's recreational fishing the opportunity to demonstrate its value as an important activity to the residents of Hawai`i and as a significant part of our tourism industry," Nelson said.
Beginning next year, the survey will consist of three components:
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