Habitat Conservation

Fisheries Local Action Strategy - Hawaii (FLASH)

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The Fisheries LAS - Hawaii (FLASH) was created by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, in collaboration with the State of Hawaii. The purpose of the FLASH is to develop viable fisheries management solutions, enhance public understanding of Hawaii's coral reefs and facilitate public involvement in coral reef stewardship. FLASH also supports projects by promoting collaboration, outreach, and engagement amongst stakeholders, offering technical support, and identifying funding opportunities. FLASH is overseen by a steering committee composed of members from NOAA, Hawaii DAR, University of Hawaii, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and The Nature Conservancy.

The Fisheries Local Action Strategy's Steering Committee envisions the Hawaiian Islands with a healthy nearshore marine environment that is maintained through effective management for the benefit and appreciation of all generations. We believe that: i) the island way of life is important to defining who we are; ii) most people care about the environment; and iii) informed decision making and proactive stewardship will lead to improved and sustainable coral reef fisheries.

Effects of Increased Fishing Pressure

Over-fishing is a threat in the Main Hawaiian Islands with some fish stocks decreasing by 80-85% this century. The overfishing threat is compounded by Hawaii's relative isolation, limited recruitment, and high species endemism (occurring naturally only in Hawaii). Hawaii has the highest percentage of endemism for warm-water fishes in the world at about 24%. Also, the majority of Hawaii's 1.2 million residents (most are marine resource users) are concentrated within two miles off the shoreline. These impacts can have negative environmental, economical, and social consequences. FLASH works to mitigate these impacts through collaborative management.

Increased fishing pressure not only results in less fish, but also fewer types of fishes and smaller fish. Fishing pressure can also make it more difficult for fish stocks to recover. Coral reef species are particularly vulnerable to fishing pressure, and stocks can be rapidly depleted, potentially to the point of no recovery. The preference for larger and older fish has a disproportionately higher impact on the growth and replenishment of fish populations, since these fish produce more eggs and healthier offspring. If the abundance of a species drops too low, a fish population may lose its ability to rebuild itself. As large, predatory fish species are targeted and depleted, fishers will "fish down marine food webs," moving on to remaining smaller species which are then, in turn, depleted.

Steering Committee

Please visit www.hawaiicoralreefstrategy.com to see the strategic plan, as well as lists of past and current projects.

The Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC)

Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community icon

For more information please contact:
Michael Lameier, NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office
(808) 944-2200