The goal of Makai Watch is to enhance the management of near-shore marine resources by providing community members opportunities to become directly involved in this management.
The goal of the Makai Watch Program is to enhance the management of near-shore marine resources by providing community members opportunities for direct involvement in management activities. Predecessors to Makai Watch existed across the state as early as 1997, with outreach, education and research efforts at Maui’s ‘Ahihi-Kina‘u Natural Area Reserve, and later in 2003 with the Reef Stewardship Program at Wai ‘Opae and Coast Watch at Miloli‘i.
The DLNR has encouraged and supported community involvement in marine resources management for many years and officially partnered with NGOs to launch the Mauka-Makai Watch program in 2005. The Makai Watch component focuses on caring for near-shore marine resources with the active participation of local communities. Modeled after the successful Neighborhood Watch program, Makai Watch volunteers in communities statewide serve as the ‘eyes and ears’ for the State’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officials (DOCARE).
The Makai Watch Program consists of three (3) main components, as described below. Each of these components has an associated training module:
The Makai Watch Program trains volunteers to provide ocean users with useful, site-specific information related to the marine ecology, geography, culture, history, applicable resource regulations, safety, best fishing practices and proper reef etiquette.
To encourage continued community participation, it is important that community members understand the condition of marine resources, how they are being used, and how they change over time. Makai Watch volunteers learn how to collect information on the biological condition of marine resources, and on human use of marine resources (boating, collecting, fishing, etc.). Volunteers will be able to monitor the overall health of the Bay over time, and become stronger advocates for stewardship and pono practices.
While awareness raising and outreach help to reduce illegal activities, poaching and other detrimental activities are likely to continue in some areas. To reduce the willful disregard for laws governing marine resource use, Makai Watch volunteers are trained to accurately observe, identify and report illegal activities. Together, Makai Watch groups and DOCARE work collaboratively to ensure effective resource protection.
Makai Watch Groups
As of 2011, there are currently a total of nine (9) (I only count eight on the list) DLNR-recognized Makai Watch groups active in the State of Hawaii. A list of these groups and the areas they help to protect are listed below:
Ka‘upulehu and Kukio, Hawai‘i
Maunalua Bay, O‘ahu
XFor more information or to get involved, contact the Makai Watch coordinators for your island. Due to limited funding and resources, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, will not be establishing new Makai Watch Project. In the future, the following elements must be in place to be considered a Makai Watch Project.