Fish Today For Fish Tomorrow
Wednesday - October 06, 2010
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By Marc Inouye
President of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group Board of Directors
Fishing and eating fish have always been an integral part of Hawaii’s culture and traditions. Today, there are an estimated 157,000 people who fish in Hawaii. Residents of Hawaii consume more than three times the amount of fish that the rest of the United States does.
In 2005, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group was formed to keep the fishing community informed as well as encourage responsible resource use by all ocean users - a tall task for a group of volunteer board members. But through a strong and growing network of dedicated fishermen, PIFG manifested into a statewide resource for the fishing and seafood communities.
Our motto is “Fish Today For Fish Tomorrow.” It stands as a message for all who harvest and consume fresh seafood. Hawaii’s ocean users realize that we have a limited supply of resources. As our population increases, we must manage our resource sustainably today for future generations. PIFG strives to preserve Hawaii’s fishing culture and tradition through a number of programs that promote responsible fishing and conservation of our resources.
The first three projects developed in 2005 by PIFG were the Statewide Tagging Challenge, Hawaii Bottomfishing Tagging Project and the Hawaii Fishing & Seafood Festival. Currently, all three projects are self-sustained by ongoing grants, donations and cooperative research. The positive results have brought nationwide attention and promise to the significance of community-based fishing programs.
As PIFG has grown, other significant projects and programs were developed and implemented, such as The Boys & Girls Annual Fishing Day, Keiki Taape Challenge, the Mike Sakamoto Scholarship and other collaborative projects with NOAA.
All of PIFG’s support comes through grants, public donations, volunteer time and an annual fundraiser, Hawaii Fishing & Seafood Festival. The money raised goes toward supporting ongoing projects and helps develop new programs.
The Hawaii Fishing & Seafood Festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary. It began as a vehicle to bring together the fishing and seafood communities, and today the festival is a catalyst that launches PIFG’s annual fundraising effort for its programs. More than 20,000 people attend the festival in October every year, where more than 100 vendors, live entertainment, ono food, workshops/demonstration and keiki games line the entire Pier 38. This year it will be held Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. It has undeniably turned into one of Hawaii’s largest and most popular community events.
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