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CRAMP: Fishing Pressure

There appears to be a general agreement among managers and fishermen that the majority of reefs in Hawai‘i are overfished. Many areas subjected to overfishing have been or are presently under the influence of other anthropogenic influences such as nutrification, sedimentation, coastal development, etc. Also, each situation must be viewed in terms of what fish population each habitat would support under pristine conditions. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Hawai‘i afford various degrees of protection to local fish stocks. Analysis of data from areas of open access to areas with varying degrees of protection are one means of establishing the possible influences of overfishing and allows evaluation of the effectiveness of various types of MPAs. The establishment of a larger MPA network has been proposed as a means of sustaining reef fisheries throughout the state, so these data are needed. The CRAMP monitoring design includes a wide range of MPAs. The various types of MPAs in Hawai‘i vary widely in degree of protection. MPA classifications include: Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCD), Fisheries Management Area (FMA), Fisheries Replenishment Area (FRA), Natural Area Reserve System (NARS), and the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve (KIR). The non-MPA (open access) sites in the CRAMP network include sites in remote areas that are subjected to lower levels of fishing pressure.

Initial analysis of CRAMP data by Alan Friedlander and Eric Brown used fish information in CRAMP database, human population numbers on each island and information on approximate reef area on each island. This presentation graphically shows a pattern that is apparent to mangers and scientists who are familiar with the reduced standing crop of fish on O‘ahu, where most of the state‘s population resides. Certainly overfishing is a factor, but other human environmental impacts also play a role.  (Click for a larger view)


Last Update: 04/21/2008

By: Lea Hollingsworth

Hawai‘i  Coral Reef Assessment & Monitoring Program

Hawai‘i  Institute of Marine Biology

P.O. Box 1346

Kāne‘ohe, HI 96744

808-236-7440 phone

808-236-7443 fax