Last week Governor Ige signed HB393, a bill that facilitates the restoration, repair, maintenance, and operation of traditional Hawaiian fishponds. This is the result of a dedicated group of fishpond practitioners, government agencies and nonprofit organizations working together (since 2012) to streamline the permitting process for the restoration of traditional Hawaiian fishpond systems. Trisha Watson-Sproat, Owner of Honua Consulting, reported that the signing of this bill means that “seventeen (17) different federal and state authorizations traditional Hawaiian fishponds had to obtain in order to restore their ponds and distilled it down into a single streamlined application making it cheaper and easier for communities to restore and maintain their loko i‘a.”
However, our own fishpond expert and practitioner, Graydon “Buddy” Keala, Owner of Loko I’a Consulting and lead author of LOKO I‘A A Manual on Hawaiian Fishpond Restoration and Management, cautions that “the devil is in the detail” with this bill. He explains that while the intent of reducing costs and streamlining the permitting process was good, the end result is a more expensive and burdensome process. This is due to more intensive best management practices (BMPs) with the extra burden placed on the fishpond practitioner. He reports that there is a group of active practitioners looking to get the bill amended. This should be interesting to follow.
View the bill here:
Learn more about the process:
Fishpond Restoration Manual here: