Long Term Monitoring

Status of the Reefs

Site Selection Process

Act 306


Study sites


Cooperative Programs

Rapid Assessment




Search the CRAMP Website

Navigate the CRAMP Website

Bibliographic Search

Act 306: The West Hawai‘i  Regional Fishery Management Area (FMA)

The proposed CRAMP experimental design was highly modified on the Island of Hawai‘i  at the initiation of the project due to the enactment of a new law known as Act 306. The island of Hawai‘i  is undergoing large-scale changes in resource and coastal land use. Theses changes include shoreline development, degradation of coastal habitats, over-consumption of marine resources from subsistence fishing and aquarium fish collecting, recreational swimmer and diver impacts and boat anchor damage. Multiple use conflicts have developed, especially between recreational divers and aquarium fish collectors. Concern over the growing impact from the aquarium trade led to development of House Bill 3457, that was passed during the 1997-98 legislative session and was signed into law on 13 July 1998 as ACT 306. This law mandated the establishment of the West Hawai‘i  Regional Fishery Management Area (WHR-FMA) which extends from Upolu Point to Ka Lae. The intent is to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Effectively manage fishery activities to ensure sustainability

  • Enhance near shore resources, and

  • Minimize conflicts in the use area.

The responsibility for accomplishing these objectives lies with the State of Hawai‘i , Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR). The DAR is responsible for the following actions:

  1. Designate a minimum of 30% of West Hawai‘i  coastal waters by Oct. 1, 1998 as Fish Replenishment Areas (FRAs) in which aquarium fish collection is prohibited.

  2. By July 1, 1999 establish a day-use mooring buoy system and designate some high-use areas where no anchoring is allowed.

  3. By Oct. 1, 1999 establish a portion of the FRAs as Fish Reserves where no fishing of reef-dwelling fish is allowed.

  4. By July 1, 2000 designate areas where the use of gill nets as set nets shall be prohibited.

A review of the effectiveness of the West Hawai‘i  Regional Fishery management Area is to be conducted every five years.

The establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) is a major tool in marinating the productivity of Hawaiian Reefs. The number of MPAs is increasing around the world (Salm and Clark, 1984). Numerous studies have documented the benefits between the marine communities in MPAs and non-managed areas (e.g., Jones et al. 1992; Polunin and Roberts, 1993).


Jones, G. P., R. C. Cole, and C. N. Batershill. 1992. Marine reserves, do they work? Proc. 2nd Internl. Temperate Reef Symp. Auckland, NZ. Pp. 57-62.

Polunin, P. V. C. and C. M. Roberts. 1993. Greater biomass and value of target coral-reef fishes in two small Caribbean marine reserves. Mar. Ecol.Prog. Ser. 100: 167-176.

Salm, R. V. and J. R. Clarke (1984) Marine and coastal protected areas : a guide for planners and managers. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland. 302 pp.


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