East Hawaii News

REEF Project Aims to Bridge DLNR-Community Gap

March 17, 2016, 4:30 PM HST
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File photo by Jamilia Epping.

File photo by Jamilia Epping.

A Resources Enforcement Educating Fishers project is the latest project of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

Funding for the DLNR program was received through a grant from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Under the new REEF program, DOCARE will work to build relationships with the public, providing opportunities for officers and fisheries to engage in activities together, like shoreline visits and the clarification of state rules and regulations.

“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.”

DLNR notes that studies have shown that when an officer makes 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.

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One component of the REEF project will include ‘Ike Kai curriculum, incorporating relevant cultural knowledge and sensitivities while also covering DAR and DOBOR rules and regulations.

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

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