The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation is committed to marine conservation in Hawai’i—defined as strategic efforts toward well-managed nearshore ecosystems that can support our continued, sustainable use for generations to come. Because each of our islands’ ahupuaʻa and moku have different characteristics, resources, and issues, we think that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work to restore or maintain the health of our nearshore ecosystems. Conventional management of our 3 million acres of marine waters by a severely limited number of state managers and enforcement officers hasn’t worked well either. They simply cannot do it alone.
Consequently, we believe that thoughtful, well-designed community co-management in partnership with the State is the best way to protect and restore our marine resources. Community co-management is an inclusive approach that works to match grass-roots, ground-up knowledge and concerns with the government’s mandated responsibility to manage our marine resources. Consequently, the intention of these efforts is to bring people together, not to divide them, and to perpetuate sustainable practices that have proven themselves through centuries of trial and error, validated through the best science and latest technology. This is grounded in the Foundation’s strong belief that these are shared resources for which we must devise shared approaches to improve and restore them. If one cares about the health and well being of our ocean, then one bears the responsibility of engaging in this conversation—openly and honestly—to make sure we are all heard. We assume the good intent of all people, until it is proven they do not have the best for all of Hawaii’s people or natural resources in mind.
How is this done? Through inclusive, fair, honest, and open community-driven and government-authorized processes. The Foundation does not—and will not—support divisive efforts. We make thoughtful investments among communities, user groups, their non-profit supporters, and within State agencies specifically to ensure this. If anyone in our resident community of Hawai‘i feels they are deliberately being shut out of this process, then this is an issue we are intent on remedying.
We support sustainable fishing because it perpetuates our unique island way of life, fosters community and keeps food on the table in increasingly uncertain environmental times. We value our Hawaiian culture and its inherent practices of wise use in the face of constantly changing resident demographics. And we also value the simple joys of using the ocean, be it alone, amongst our family, or with friends, regardless of ethnicity or time of residence in Hawaii.
However, the reality is that the health of our ocean is challenged by a number of issues, such as land based-pollution, invasive species, and overuse. And because the ocean is for the enjoyment of us all, everyone’s opinions matter and need to be heard when discussing how to address these issues. But people with the deepest connections to a place, via residence, use, and lineage, are the voices that weigh most heavily. And so due to their experience, knowledge, and heritage, the process for bettering that place should originate from these voices. While these open processes may very well result in solutions that exclude certain practices in order to perpetuate resources for the coming generations, they should never unfairly exclude people.
There have been troubling reports in a few places associated with community-based efforts where the negative actions of a very few have spoken for the positive efforts of many. And what is perplexing is that while these actions come from a love for place, they result in anger towards one another. We do not condone threats or acts of violence or other illegal tactics. Yet while we cannot control the isolated actions of individuals we still must account for them. As a community, we are all responsible for ending them. We are all responsible for caring for each other.