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Malama ‘Aina – Walk it: Fishponds & Fishtraps at Kaloko-Honokohau NHP

May 30, 2014

Normally, you may think National Trails Day is just a day for hiking. How about a walk to see traditional Hawaiian aquaculture structures near downtown Kailua-Kona?

Kaloko Fishpond Wall

Kaloko Fishpond Wall

Ala Kahakai Trail is a network of trails that connected places of importance to Hawaiian people. It is a perpetuation of the ancestral connection that families have with trails and the places that the trails connect. Community-based management means that a community of users manages and assists in the management of a resource or resources. Even in the past, communities were managing resources. 

In the days of old, fishing was wisely regulated to ensure that sustainable gathering happened during the optimum time of the lifecycles of different species. Natural cues such as the flowering of plants or specific seasons and moon phases alerted when harvesting would be ideal and at its peak. Fishponds were large projects made possible by the physical labor of a majority of the local community. Stones were dry stacked as walls and enclosures for the raising of fish for food. As a “backup” strategy for times when weather made deep sea fishing more dangerous, easier harvesting could occur within the smaller confines of fishponds and fishtraps along coastlines in Hawaii (and other places). These well planned and carefully placed aquaculture structures still dot the landscapes of Hawaii’s shorelines…waiting to, one day, be revived so it can continue to feed people.

Join a kama`aina (native-born) park ranger at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Kona for a guided hike from `Aiopio fishtrap, just north of Honokohau harbor, past ‘Aimakapa fishpond to Kaloko fishpond and back. Meet at the halau A-frame structure at `Aiopio fishtrap at 9am on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Be prepared for hot weather with water, hat, sun protection and good shoes. Plan on about two hours for the hike.

For more details contact Kaloko-Honokohau NHP Visitor Center at 808 326-9057 or visit


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