OHA’s Ocean Policy Meetings and 2022 Year End Review

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Photo: Kaleihikina Akaka

As your OHA Oʻahu Island Trustee and Chair of the Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment Committee, I had the pleasure of attending both of the well-attended OHA Ocean Policy meetings held on Oʻahu at Heʻeia State Park and at the Nānākuli Public Library. OHA also held Ocean Policy meetings across the pae ʻāina and online to gather input from our beneficiaries and the community to help bring forward OHA’s goal to create innovative and effective ocean policies that reflect our cultural values and traditions and that can surpass the current global standards of practice.

Photo: Trustee Akaka and her ʻohana
Trustee Akaka and her ʻohana at the OHA Ocean Policy Meeting at Heʻeia State Park in Kāneʻohe. – Photos: Courtesy

OHA will now compile everyone’s manaʻo which will then guide our Advocacy Team to come up with policies and guidelines that OHA will follow to ensure that the ocean surrounding our Hawaiian Islands is healthy and thriving for future generations to come.

Furthermore, the BAE Committee passed two resolutions earlier this year supporting Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) Designations and Rules for Miloliʻi, Hawaiʻi and Kīpahulu, Maui. Guidelines for CBSFAs include a mixture of gear restrictions, bag limits and seasonal closures which enable better care and restoration for the ecosystems that have provided sustenance for Native Hawaiians and our Hawaiʻi community.

Photo: Chair Carmen, “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee Akaka and OHA CEO Dr. Sylvia Hussey
(L-R) OHA board Chair Carmen, “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee Akaka and OHA CEO Dr. Sylvia Hussey celebrate the passing of the PLT Bill at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol.

The historic passing of OHA’s Public Land Trust (PLT) Bill is truly a highlight! I am incredibly proud of our diligent and collaborative work throughout the year, and prior, successfully advocating to receive more of the amount due to OHA for our beneficiaries. Mahalo nui to our community that advocated and testified in support of our PLT Bill. This is not just a win for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, this is a monumental win for our Hawaiian people so that we can provide more funding and additional services within our Hawaiian community in alignment with our strategic plan.

Next year there will be a renewed focus to activate OHA’s Kakaʻako Makai property and I humbly ask for your support again in the 2023 Hawaiʻi State Legislative Session. OHA has recently begun its advocacy efforts for Kakaʻako Makai by attending and presenting at the 2022 Association of Hawaiian Civic Club Convention. It was uplifting to receive support from stakeholders and our civic clubs from the State of Hawaiʻi along with civic clubs from the continent. We continue to ramp up our efforts going into next year’s Legislative Session to unlock the full potential of our lands.

I wish you the very best during this holiday season. Enjoy the precious time that is shared with ʻohana and friends as we recharge and get ready for another busy and exciting year! Mele Kalikimaka a Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!