FISHING MEANS FOOD FACT SHEET

FISHING MEANS FOOD FACT SHEET

If expanded, the entire 200-mile limit (US Exclusive Economic Zone) surrounding the

Northwest Hawaiian Island (NWHI) chain, will be off limits to Hawaii’s fishermen,

The expansion represents a 350 percent increase in the no-fishing zone, twice the size of

Texas. This places a staggering and disproportionate ocean conservation burden on

Hawaii – Larger states like California have only nine percent and Oregon less than three

percent whereas Hawaii would bear 67 percent of the ocean conservation burden for the

entire nation.

• Eighty percent of the fish caught in Hawaii is consumed in Hawaii. We are a state that

struggles with food security. Other than fresh fish, which is 34 percent locally sourced, less

than ten percent of our food supply is locally sourced.

• The Hawaii longline fishery is the most important local food producer in the state with an

annual farm-gate or dock-side value of over $100 million. This fishery far exceeds any

single agricultural food product in Hawaii, including sugarcane, pineapple, macadamia nuts,

coffee, and papaya.

• The Hawaii fishery has a proven, effective model for sustainable fishery management.

Hawaii’s longline fishery is among the most intensively studied, monitored and managed

fisheries in the world. This fishery is federally managed by the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management

Council (WPRFMC).

• In 1991, NOAA and the WPRFMC created the 50-mile longline fishing exclusion zone

around Hawaii, including the NWHI chain to protect nearshore resources and habitat. This

preceded actions by President Clinton and then President Bush in 2006 that created the

PMNM on top of the existing 50-mile no fishing zone.

• NOAA scientists and managers have already determined that protections are in place for

the coral reef habitat, green sea turtles, monk seals, and seabirds within this 50-mile buffer.

Expanding the monument to 200 miles will not add to these protections because these

habitats and species live near shore and not in the deep open ocean where our longline

fishing vessels operate.

• NOAA’s own 2012 and 2014 Biological Opinions concluded that the Hawaii longline fishery

is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the protected species and critical

habitat in Hawaii.

• The Hawaii Longline Fishery operates in compliance with the 10 National Standards laid

out by the federal Magnuson-Stevens Sustainable Fisheries Act (MSA), the Marine Mammal

Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the

Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and other laws that

keep this fishery operating responsibly and within sustainable limits.

• Hawaii’s 140 longline boats bring in just 1.65 percent of all big eye tuna caught in the

Pacific Ocean. Hawaii’s fishery is one of the most highly regulated in the world, with federal

observers on 100 percent of its swordfish boats and 20 percent of its ahi boats. Of the

total observed ahi catch in the Pacific, over 80 percent comes from our Hawaii fleet – so

the 1.5 percent catch represents almost all the regulated/observed catch in the entire

Pacific.

Response to Proponents’ Claims:

Claim: “Hawaii’s fishermen only take 5 percent of their total catch from the proposed

expansion zone, so this will have a minimal effect on the supply of fish and to the industry.”

Response:  It’s actually 10 percent of the catch that comes from the proposed expansion area

— representing two million pounds of fish. Here’s the problem with thinking that 10 percent

is a minimal amount:

1) Any fisherman will tell you they don’t fish in the same areas today that they fished in five

years ago. What happens when the fish move to other areas in the expansion zone? Could

we see decreases of 30 or 40 percent? When the Northwest Hawaiian Island marine

sanctuary (that is now the Monument) was established, Hawaii lost 50 percent of its

bottomfish catch of our once famous deep water snappers – opakapaka and onaga and

we lost all eight of our bottomfish vessels.

2) On any given day, the fish catch comes from different areas, and availability affects

pricing. Just a week ago on the auction floor, 54 percent of that day’s catch was from the

proposed expansion area. A 54 percent decrease will undoubtedly result in increased

prices and force the use of gas treated frozen fish.

Claim: “Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet met its quota in August last year so this means the

fishermen will just take a little longer to get to their allotted catch.”

Response:  The Hawaii-based US longline fleet operates mainly under the Western and Central

Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC). The government agencies arbitrarily dictate what

our yearly bigeye tuna quota will be through a Tropical Tuna Management Measure.

Foreign fisheries have been given much larger longline quotas due to foreign influence and

the prominence of purse-seine fishing inequity. The foreign purse-seine fleets operating

near the equator catch hundreds of thousands of tons of juvenile bigeye, while longline

fleets only target adult bigeye. This has led to a bigeye fishing issue, while the Hawaii fleet

has always been compliant and not contributing to the problem. Hawaii catches just 1.5

percent of all the bigeye tuna in the Pacific ocean.

Despite a restricted quota, the US Hawaii fleet still operates under strict domestic

management measures regulated by the NMFS and Coast Guard.

Claim: “This expansion will protect marine life that the fishermen harm – including monk seal

populations, turtles and sea birds.”

Response:  Hawaii’s Longline Fishery is managed by NOAA Fisheries and the WPRFMC and is a

global model for pelagic (open ocean) fishery management for sustainability. Hawaii

fisheries are the most intensely studied, monitored and managed fisheries in the world. The

Hawaii Longline Fishery is the world’s first fishery to be scored against the United National

Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO

Code). In 2008, the Hawaii Longline Fishery scored a 94% compliance with the FAO Code,

the world’s only international agreement on what constitutes a responsible fishery capable

of producing sustainable wild seafood.

NOAA scientists and managers have already determined in multiple studies that

protection has been achieved for the coral reef habitat, green sea turtles, monk seals and

seabirds that occur close to shore within the existing 50 mile buffer.

About Fishing Means Food

Fishing Means Food is a coalition of chefs, farmers, fishermen, business and community leaders

dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s fresh fish industry by supporting local fishermen’s access to fish

in the proposed expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

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