Letters | 7-1-14


Fish collection: It’s time to look at the facts

What’s that quote? “Don’t confuse the issue with facts.”

Obviously the pro-ban camp has no regard for the facts, no respect for the people who worked so hard through negotiation, compromise and consensus to find a reasonable solution. Worse, their supreme arrogance ignoring the ancient traditions of stewardship and sustainability that have been an honored tradition in Hawaii since the ancient days.

The West Hawaii Fisheries Council proved that you can achieve success through cooperation, not confrontation. Everyone was welcome and all were represented at the table. Where was this radical activist contingent? Apparently not interested in respect for tradition or allowing the people who reside and work in West Hawaii self determination of developing their resource.

Instead we get this group of carpetbaggers coming in to destroy the balance the people that live and work here have achieved. Absolutely shameful behavior.

And what is up with this dive instructor? Has she had no training in dealing with a panicked student diver? The grabbing for the regulator, pulling off the mask, all of that, isn’t that a standard part of training? Where was the Octopus rig, the backup regulator that has pretty much become standard equipment these days?

I mean, I’ve only been a certified diver for just 45 years, PADI and NAUI, but I remember my training those many years ago. My dive instructor, Roy D., did a drill at the bottom of Atherton YMCA pool, pulling off my mask, taking out my regulator and turning off my air. Then I took off my rig, turned on my air, put the regulator back in my mouth and then put the mask on. This with a young kid of 15, an experienced dive instructor has difficulty with this?

There is the claim that Sea Shepard members will not involve themselves with subsistence diving, why not support sustainable diving? Why are they not supporting the people of Molokai and Niihau, whose resources are being decimated by commercial fishing, not subsistence fishing or aquarium collection. Are you seriously claiming that the reefs throughout Hawaii are depleted by aquarium collection and not by overfishing? Having spent my life fishing and diving Hawaii nei from small kid time I politely disagree.

Rather, I think the activists are smart enough to realize that harassing a guy with a net is far safer that harassing someone armed with a high-powered speargun. (But officer, it slipped, it was an accident, she swam in front of the fish as I shot, it’s not my fault …).

Better these supposed extensive resources be used to develop sustainability for all manner of commercial fishing, following the Hawaiian model. Help restore the fish ponds, support education, moderation and tolerance, put away the gas and matches and support the continued success of the reasonable people who have worked together developing a model for the restoration of a resource for all of us for generations. As it was, it should be again, sustainability and stewardship, with respect for the land, the sea and the people responsible for ensuring their home is managed with those responsibilities at heart.

Robert B. Herkes

Waimea