Funds Received to Pilot an Innovative Resources Enforcement Educating Fishers (REEF) Project

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) has received grant funding to pilot an innovative Resources Enforcement Educating Fishers (REEF) project, starting this spring. The funding is provided by the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Hawaii Reef

Across the island, the most common coastal interaction for DOCARE is with fishermen.  Often this interaction is a punitive measure like a citation.

DOCARE, the enforcement arm of DLNR, has long recognized the importance of building relationships with the public. The goal of the REEF project is to provide opportunities for officers and fishers to engage in activities together, such as site visits to walk shorelines and clarify state rules and regulations.

Studies have shown that when an officer takes the time to participate in something that is important to a certain segment of the community, this shows that they really care about people, not just about writing citations.

“Many fishers have asked for trainings to understand the “western science” behind rules and regulations…” said Luna Kekoa, Makai Watch coordinator for DOCARE, “…but fishers feel a lot of current training lacks cultural sensitivity.”

To address this concern, a component of the REEF project will include a newly developed `Ike Kai curriculum that incorporates relevant cultural knowledge and sensitivities, while covering rules and regulations from the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).

DOCARE Chief Tommy Friel says, “Education is a critical component to help people understand why it is important to comply with the rules and regulations our officers enforce. Building this relationship is the means by which education is best achieved.”

For more information on the `Ike Kai curriculum visit the Makai Watch website: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/makaiwatch

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