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resent discussion of the fisheries of Hawaii will not deal with our present
problem of overcoming the shortage of marine products in our markets. The
shortage exists because of regulations preventing the full use of our fishing
fleet and other facilities for obtaining marine foods and the condition is
largely beyond our control. However for a number of years after the restrictions
are removed, the volume of food produced by our fisheries will not equal the
volume produced before the restrictions were imposed.
Many fishermen will not return to the industry and refinancing and refitting of a large part of our fishing fleet will the necessary. The period of readjustment of the industry may be a long one due to the reluctance of men to enter the industry and of capital to finance the industry. It is clear that immediate and full restoration of our supply of marine foods will not follow the revocation of regulations now preventing extensive fishing operations.
Few Resources Exploited
Only a few of our fisheries and marine resources have been exploited in the past, namely those related to the tuna cannery industry and mullet pond industry. Other fields suitable for profitable exploitation undoubtedly exist but study and investigation will be required to discover them. To the present time no investigations of the marine resources have been undertaken. Expansion of the industries now in operation on the basis of information now available would be limited because the Information now available can be obtained only from fishermen. Such information, though valuable, is usually limited to problem of operation and should be supplemented by information on the methods and practices of the industries and the nature and habits of the animal forms to be exploited.
Investigation of those problems will be required if existing industries are to be expanded to any great degree. In planning for the future of the fisheries of Hawaii, first consideration should be given to a program of investigation of our marine resources the purpose of discovering fields suitable for exploitation and of our present commercial fisheries with the purpose of increasing their production. Investigations to discover regulations to be placed on the industries exploiting our resources to prevent overexploitation and destruction of our resources should be included in this program.
Programs of investigation and research to many individuals have come to mean im1nediate solution of problems. Fortunately solutions of problems do not usually become immediately available even under the efforts of a capable staff operating under Proper plan and direction. Fishery investigations will not increase the quantity of marine foods in our markets immediately but the value of the work will increase with each passing year.
Pond, Sea Fisheries
The fisheries of the Hawaiian Islands can be divided into two categories, namely the pond fisheries and the sea fisheries. Due to the differences of the natural conditions surrounding the pond and sea fisheries, each will require a more or less specific program of investigation. Some features of suggested research programs for the two fisheries are presented below.
The fishponds of the Hawaiian Islands have formed an important source of food throughout the period of their existence and those in active operation today have been in existence since legendary times. The number of ponds in active use, however, has gradually decreased in more recent years. Cobb in 1900 reported that 99 ponds were then in active use but estimated that that number was about half the number in active use 30 years earlier. It is estimated that about 70 ponds at present are in usable condition though accurate information on the number in active operation is not available. The ponds of the interior have disappeared and the usefulness of the ponds now in existence has decreased by filling in through erosion and by neglect. Present indications are that the pond fisheries will continue to decline unless their potential value as a source of food is realized and a program of rehabilitation is undertaken.