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Spearfishermen and swimmers find difficulty sharing Kaimana BeachUPDATED 8:43 PM HST May 21, 2014Video Transcript
Kaimana Beach in Waikiki attracts hundreds of people every day who go there for a variety of reasons. But there are two groups in particular that sometimes butt heads. KITV4's Andrew Pereira takes a look at the simmering tension between swimmers and those who spearfish. It's all new tonight at 6. 07-13 20-26 111-120 If it happens on the sand or in the water, chances are it's happening at Kaimana Beach. GAIL GRABOWSKY: "IT'S A PLACE TO PICNIC, IT'S A PLACE TO GO CANOEING, TO SWIM, TO SPEARFISH, TO SNORKEL, TO DIVE, TO STAND-UP PADDLE." It's also a place where on even- numbered years, swimmers and spearfishermen sometimes collide. KYLKE NAKAMOTO: "HAVING SWIMMERS AND SNORKLERS AS WELL AS SPEAR FISHERMEN IN THE SAME AREA, YOU KNOW IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO SOME EXTENT." GAIL GRABOWSKY: "THERE'S A LINE THAT THE SWIMMERS HAVE RUN INTO, OR MAYBE THE FISH ARE BLEEDING, THAT'S ALWAYS A LITTLE WORRISOME TO ME. THERE'S THIS CHANNEL, SO IT JUST CONCENTRATES US ALL IN THIS SMALL SPACE." Gail Grabowsky is an associate professor and director of the Environmental Studies program at Chaminade University. She's also an avid rough-water swimmer who enjoys spearfishing. GAIL GRABOWSKY: "I HAVE FRIENDS THAT FEEL BOTH WAYS: KAIMANA SHOULD BE CLOSED, KAIMANA SHOULD BE OPEN, KAIMANA JUST OPEN TO POLE FISHING, YOU KNOW ALL THESE VARIEITIES." Fishermen above and below the water are allowed to take legally sized fish from the ewa wall of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium to the Diamond Head Lighthouse on even numbered years. Often it's those who spear that are accused of taking too much. WENDELL KO: "DIVERS COME OUT OF THE WATER WITH THEIR FLOATERS AND FISH AND PEOPLE SEE THAT AND THEY THINK WE'RE DEPLETING THE OCEAN, BUT WE'RE PRETTY... WE'RE DISCRIMINATE FISH TAKERS YEAH. SO, WE'RE NOT LIKE THROWING A NET AND CATCHING A WHOLE BUNCH OF FISH WE DON'T WANT." KYLE NAKAMOTO: "MOST OF THE SPEAR FISHERMEN I KNOW OF ARE VERY SELECTIVE IN THEIR WAY OF HUNTING AND TARGETTING CERTAIN FISH, AND THEY'LL ASK THEIR FAMILIES WHAT DO YOU FEEL LIKE EATING TONIGHT." A 2006 study by the University of Hawaii showed fish do return to Kaimana on years it's closed to fishing, but not enough to offset the overall decline. GAIL GRABOWSKY: "THAT SPEAKS OF MAYBE AN UNSUSTAINABLY MANAGED RESOURCE. NOW THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S DUE ALL TO THE FISHING BECAUSE OF ALL THE STRESSORS -- THE PEOPLE, PROBABLY SOME RUNOFF, EXTRA NUTRIENTS, YOU KNOW WE'RE IN A CITY." But declining near-shore fish counts is one reason why Wendell Ko took his speargun and hunting skills to deeper water. WENDELL KO: "I SEE THE DECLINE IN THE FISH COUNTS ON OUR REEFS SO I MOVED MORE TOWARDS THE BLUE WATER. I LIKE THE TASTE OF ONOS AND MAHI MAHIS BETTER ANYWAYS." Although some like Grabowsky believe the Department of Land and Natural Resources needs to take another look at marine life management at Kaimana, there's still the issue of swimmers and spearfishers understanding one another. GAIL GRABOWSKY: "I THINK THE SWIMMERS COULD MAYBE LEARN, 'OH THEY WOULD PREFER TO SWIM ON THIS SIDE OF THE CHANNEL.' AND I THINK THE SPEAR FISHERMEN PROBABLY DON'T UNDERSTAND, 'OH THE SWIMMERS TEND TO GO ON SUNDAY MORNING." SO, THERE'S SOME LEARNING THAT WE COULD DO TO HELP REACH CONSENSUS AS A COMMUNITY." KYLE NAKAMOTO: "BEING SENSITIVE I THINK TO SHARING THAT OCEAN, EVERYONE HAVING A GOOD TIME, IS IMPORTANT." We asked DLNR how many citations have been issued to spearfishermen at Kaimana so far this year, but the person who keeps those statistics wasn't available. A Marine Life Conservation District adjacent to Kaimana was established in 1988. Paula?