Emotions run deep over buoys

PAIA – To help remedy tension between Hana fishermen and outsiders who want to fish at a buoy put out by the Hana community, proposals involving fishing restrictions and adding additional buoys surfaced Saturday at a meeting held to address the user conflicts around the fish-aggregating devices, which outsiders have reported led to threats against them.

At the meeting, Hana fishermen asked that fishing at buoys the community deploys be only for them, saying they just want “peace” in waters they have fished in for generations. They said their catches are about far more than just making money; they feed the Hana community.

“We just like one place we can have peace, that’s all,” said Hana resident Robert Malaiakini,who teared up when speaking to the crowd of at least 100 people at the Paia Community Center.

He said Hana has just 20 boats that go out to fish in the area. The fishermen not only catch fish for profit but give fish to others in their community.

Malaiakini also got emotional during the meeting before his presentation.

One fisherman had asked what he should have done when, he said, someone followed him while on the water, yelling and warning him not to go out to the Hana buoy.

While some in the crowd muttered, “Go home!” Malaiakini said out loud, “You like someone go (into your) house and take your valuables? That’s the same thing.”