Four out of five voters are supportive of stricter fishing regulations, according to a poll commissioned by The Nature Conservancy.

A recent poll commissioned by conservation groups found Hawaii’s voters support more protective measures for nearshore waters, despite the Department of Land and Natural Resources recently scrapping the “30×30” marine management goal in response to what it said were community concerns.

30×30 is a global conservation initiative that aspires to place 30% of the world’s natural resources under management by 2030.

The results of the poll conducted in early January, indicate significant concern among voters for the health of the nearshore waters, coral reefs and fisheries. It found 78% of the 864 voters it canvassed online and by telephone supported the state protecting 30% of nearshore waters.

The January poll also found that 90% of respondents supported restoring the health of nearshore areas, coral reefs and fisheries, while 88% supported limiting fishing in certain areas of Hawaii to allow populations to recover.

Kevin Chang, executive director of Kuaʻaina Ulu ʻAuamo, says the poll results illustrate a degree of miscommunication between Hawaii’s communities and the state, in the years since the commitment was made by Gov. David Ige in 2016.

“It’s unfortunate that our state, which took leadership of 30×30 nationally and globally, is now shrinking the idea because a section of our population thinks 30×30 is just about closing our fishing areas,” Chang said in an interview.

Chang says the miscommunication was a symptom of how little resources DLNR receives from the state, and now the 30×30 goal has been removed, the entire initiative’s aim has become more obscure than before.

DLNR’s appointed chairperson Dawn Chang has previously said the commitment to 30×30 had become “counterproductive” to the broader goal of protecting Hawaii’s nearshore waters. The Holomua: Marine 30×30 scheme has since been renamed Holomua Marine Initiative.

Ku‘ulei Rodgers, of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii, says it is encouraging to see public support for fisheries management but underscored the severity of the current situation.

“At this pivotal turning point in the history of coral reefs we must all learn to live sustainability and support strategic management to secure our future and protect our resources,” Rodgers said in a news release.

The Nature Conservancy’s Ulalia Woodside Lee, executive director for Hawaii and Palmyra, said in a news release that the poll results reflect years of past surveys in which voters say they want greater protection of oceans, watersheds and forests.

The poll was commissioned by The Nature Conservancy, Hawaii Trust for Public Land and the Resources Legacy Fund.

The margin of error is +/-3.5% at the 95% confidence level.

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