Fishing Tourney and Festival
Take New Approach

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (06/21/97)
By Ray Pendleton

If you like fishing, boating, or both, I hope you didn't miss the two very special and historic events held at the Waianae Boat Harbor and Park last Sunday.

First, it was the final day of the first annual Ahi Fever Fishing Tournament, with the largest number of boats to ever fish a tournament in Hawai`i competing for some $65,000 in cash prizes.

Having a fleet of 227 boats - 175 of which were on trailers - bring their catches into Waianae's small harbor created the real possibility of chaos, but thanks to tournament head Ed Nelson and Harbor Master William Aila, the operation went off without a hitch.

For two nearly identical fish, at 197.8 and 198 pounds respectively, Reid Nagai's Sherry Jeanne and Willie Burt's Likepu III picked up $5,000 apiece for landing the biggest ahi on Saturday and Sunday.

The team aboard Matt Kahapea's Ah Tina was the grand prize winner, taking home $12,000 for an accumulated fish total of 857.8 pounds and an additional $2,000 for their 663-pound Pacific blue marlin.

The second historic event - the inaugural Hawai`i Fishermen's Festival - took place in the park adjacent to Waianae Harbor. Department of Land and Natural Resources and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program the object of the festival was to bring people of all ages together to exchange ideas and find common ground in planning a sustainable future for Hawaii's fisheries.

For the 2,000, or so, people who attended, I think the goal was accomplished.

The first interactive forum - for young people who where asked to speak on their hopes for the future - began shortly after a morning blessing. Additional forums continued throughout the day, with the past, present and future of Hawaii's fisheries always the connecting link.

One forum compared what is being done in other states and countries to sustain and manage fisheries compared to Hawai`i. Another dealt with understanding the health of our state's fisheries, and still another looked back at traditional fisheries management with help from kupuna ahu kuka - a council of elders.

Two final forums asked for pros and cons regarding recreational fishing licensing and then entered into a round table discussion on defining who makes up Hawaii's fisheries, what they may have in common and how to protect the resource for future generations.

As with most open discussions, the results were not always clear cut, but I was impressed at how many people seemed to agree that the state should be doing more in regulating the taking of fish, educating the public on the rules, and then enforcing the rules.

Along with the forums , there were dozens of booths and displays covering nearly aspect of the marine environment. There was information on aquaculture, boating safety, marine and reef ecosystems, marine weather, fishing traditions and history, pollution, sea birds, and of course, fishing sustainability.

Mike Sakamoto's Penn Reel Fishing School was there to help anyone learn the finer points of casting and Windward Boats had some half million dollars in boats on display.

Naturally, there was plenty of food, ranging from plate lunches to Hawaiian Poi Mochi on a stick. But the food that got the most attention was at Sam Choy's Poke Contest where Diane Lacson of Waianae won a free night at the Hawaii Prince Hotel for making Sam's favorite poke.

If you missed this one, check your calendar because the second annual Hawai`i Fishermen's Festival is only 51 weeks away.

Water Ways

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