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Social Aspects of the Pelagic Fisheries, Phase II: The Hawaii Troll and Handline Fishery
Reports (PDF): FY 2001,
FY 2000, FY
1999, FY 1998 (see below)
ANNUAL REPORT FOR FY 1998
P.I.: Marc L. Miller
Purpose of the Project
This overarching goal of this multiphase project is a baseline sociocultural case study of the Hawai'i troll and handline pelagic fishery. Phase I objectives (achieved and reported in Social Aspects of Pacific Pelagic Fisheries: Phase I: The Hawai'i Troll and Handline Fishery,SOEST 96-04, Jimar Contribution 96-302) were to 1) describe the institutional environment of the fishery, 2) reveal the social organization of the fishery and 3) identify fishermen's perceptions of fishery issues. Another major research goal that was achieved involved the development of a conceptual framework for the continuation of cultural and social studies of the fishery.
Progress in FY 1998
This progress report describes work completed through June 1998 for Phase II of the project and provides a timeline for project completion.
Summary of progress
This continuing project focuses on the social and cultural nature of troll and handline pelagic fisheries in Hawai'i. In Phase I, a typology of fishing trips was developed to reflect "profit," "expense," "recreational," and other kinds of commitments to fishing. In Phase II, the conceptual framework was expanded and a ritual model was developed and tested to complement a rational model of fishing involvement. Pelagic fishing is objectively coded as a work/leisure activity, and subjectively experienced as a sacred/mundane "action gamble." In Phase II, ethnographic fieldwork, survey research, and historical research activities have concentrated on the validation of fishing trip categories, and the local knowledge that Hawai'i fishermen have of the pelagic fisheries. Topics of inquiry have also included the social organization of fisheries, social networks involving fishermen, distribution networks, the identification of fishery issues perceived as important by fishermen, and ethnic differences.
Objective One: Describe the social organization and selected cultural aspects of Hawai'i's troll and handline fishery.
Objective Two: Contribute to Definitions of Analytical Categories of Fishing and Fishermen
Empirical findings of the project suggest that potential future pelagic fisheries management based on the "type" of fishing undertaken is subject to possible mis-typing of participants, and that due consideration of the unique nature of pelagic fishing in Hawai'i (and the Paciic generally) should precede development of categories of fishermen and development of criteria for being included in such categories. For example, there appears to be relatively few active pelagic fishery participants who do not at some point sell some of their catch for profit or to pay for trip expenses. Yet it would be inaccurate to label many such fishermen as distinctly "commercial" fishermen or to regulate their activities as such since these same individuals typically keep some or most of their catch for subsistence or to share with family, friends or neighbors. Further, all of these fishermen enjoy fishing and the label "recreational" might be as accurate or (inaccurate) as "commercial." On the other hand, there are many fishermen who sell most of their catch, but who also fish for enjoyment, for the sake of camaraderie, for the chance to keep some of their catch to eat or share.
Clearly, the lines characterizing motivation for fishing are often blurred, and project researchers are recognizing that for small vessel pelagic fishing in Hawai i, the kind of fisherman one is often depends on emerging factors - whether fish are being caught, and if so, how big they are, how many, the market prices potentially received, and so on. If no fish are coming up, perhaps the fishing is for fun. If lots of little ones or a couple of big ones are coming up, perhaps it is a subsistence trip with recreational benefits. If "da kine" are being caught and lots of them, maybe they will end up on the auction block or being sold along the roadside - the trip will be paid for, with money in the pocket, and a good time had. Since any given fisherman may engage in any of these kinds of trips, depending on emerging conditions, it would be extremely difficult, perhaps spurious to label (and manage) an individual as any given type. Woven through and around this emerging and integrated definition is the fact that, as a fishermen of any type, one participates in or is aware of the Hawaiian style of fishing in which certain methods prevail, fish is often shared with enthusiasm and not necessarily with concern for reciprocity (though such is common), camaraderie between groups of participants is enjoyed, and talking story about the trip is essential. It may be more appropriate then, to manage pelagic fisheries in Hawai'i from the perspective of "Hawaiian style," and its inherent variations.
The project will continue to explore fishing, motivations and kinds of trips in upcoming months. The geographical focus will continue to be at Waianae and Haleiwa on 0'ahu, and at Miloli'i and Ho'okena on Hawai'i. Field staff are using participant observation (fishing with local fishermen), observational methods (e.g., attending meetings, fishing tournaments, observing harbor activities), and informal interviews as their principal research tools.
Objective Three: Describe the Institutional Environment in which Fishery Management Policies are Designed and Implemented
While there has been little directed effort to meet this objective, description of the management environment supporting Hawai i's pelagic fishery is being facilitated by the research team's ongoing interaction with key persons directly involved in fishery management in the state. This situation is ideal for enabling an "inside view" of management. Understanding gained from close interaction with those in charge, however, is somewhat sensitive in its revelation of internal politics and processes and the relation of these to policy. Thus, while the project will describe the institutional environment of pelagic fishery management, the description will necessarily be somewhat superficial in nature and limited to those aspects most pertinent to our primary objective of examining the social and cultural aspects of pelagic fishing and pelagic fishery participants.
Objective Four: Refine a Theoretical Framework for Ongoing Research of the Social and Cultural Aspects of Pelagic Fishing in Hawai'i
Despite its intensive efforts, the project will have only scratched the surface of social and cultural aspects of pelagic fishing in Hawai'i. In this sense, its findings may be considered as preliminary to ongoing investigation, and suitable theoretical frameworks will need to be developed as future research progresses. The neo-Durkheimian model used to explore motivational factors for fishing is proving highly effective for understanding the interrelated and emergent nature of motive and its relationship to trip outcome for Hawaii's pelagic fishermen. With respect to the future, many topics have emerged as important avenues for exploration. These include but are not limited to: occupational plurality of participants, social networks aniong participants and the relationship of these to efficient fishing, conservation ethics across the fishery, ethnicity and its relationship to efficient fishing and social interaction, the Native Hawaiian fishing famiily, and mortality and morbidity on small pelagic fishing vessels.
In sum, Phase II of the project is continuing on course to meet its primary objectives. The diagnostic survey of selected socio-demographic and perceptual elements for over 180 pelagic fishermen has been completed and data are being entered presently. Fieldwork continues, with the immediate focus on description of tournament fishing at Waianae and Haleiwa. Field staff will continue to observe activities at these locations and at Miloli'i and Ho'okena on Hawai'i throughout the 1998 summer.
September will see the completion of data entry and analysis for the diagnostic survey, final analysis of DLNR and BORD Data (as available), compilation and analysis of participant and other observation-based field notes, and ongoing work on the draft final report. Fieldwork will continue during this period with follow-up interviews, observation, and fishing trips, as necessary to validate and verify initial findings and analysis. We expect final production of a draft report by mid-October and, following the input of reviewers, completion of the final report.
This page updated August 22, 2006