A prestigious international prize has been awarded to tandem initiatives on Kauai and Molokai aimed at sustainably managing near shore fisheries using traditional, Native Hawaiian place-based management practices.

Hui Makaainana o Makana on Kauai and and Hui Malama o Moomomi on Molokai are among 22 communities around the world to receive the 2019 Equator Prize for innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change. The award is sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme.

The prize is awarded biennially to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage.

This is the first time the prize has been awarded to indigenous communities in the United States.

Hui Makaainana o Makana on Kauai was recognized for its efforts in forming the Hawaii’s first Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area in Haena. The designation enacted new rules that have helped the Haena community protect its waters by limiting the type of fishing gear and harvesting methods permitted within the CBSFA boundaries. The rules prohibit commercial fishing and set daily harvesting limits for certain species and impose fines for noncompliance.

A similar community-driven effort at Moomomi on Molokai enshrines ecological management practices such as the art of pono fishing to sustainably manage its near shore waters in the face of climate change for generations to come.

After years of a decline in abundance of fish and marine life, both groups have reported healthier, more vibrant fisheries since they enacted traditional management practices.

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