Residents of Niihau have complained for years that fishermen from other islands have been trolling their nearshore waters for fish and depleting their food supply. 

To this end, members of the Senate have proposed a bill that would effectively ban non-resident fishing around Niihau, which is home to about 130 Native Hawaiians. 

An excerpt from BIll 125

Unfortunately, over the last decade, the success of the Niihau community in perpetuating the health of their critical fishery resources has led to increasing fishing pressure by those from other islands.  Visitors from outside the Niihau community are capable of traveling great distances in the pursuit of fish, and seek to exploit the abundant resources of Niihau for commercial or other purposes.  Niihau residents have expressed ongoing and deepening concerns over the increasing impact of outside fishing interests and report declines in the abundance and accessibility of resources sustainably harvested and relied upon by Niihau residents for generations.  The legislature finds that the unabated and growing disregard of the subsistence needs and traditional resource management practices of Niihau’s residents, in spite of ten years of informal requests for restraint, now calls for strong and decisive legislative action.

In November members of the Robinson family, which owns Niihau, a number of its residents and Hawaii senators held a press conference in Honolulu to raise awareness about the issue of overfishing. 

You can read more and see the videos here: Niihau to Kauai: Don’t Take Our Fish

Photo: Aerial view of Niihau.  (Wikimedia Commons: Christopher P. Becker, Polihale)

Sophie Cocke