The Hawaiians of old depended on the sea for survival and, as a result, developed a sophisticated understanding of the natural processes regulating resource abundance and effective strategies to manage those resources. After Western contact, sociopolitical upheaval led to the breakdown of the traditional Hawaiian fisheries management system, though practice and knowledge continued. Even today, subsistence fishing is culturally and economically important to many communities throughout Hawai'i, but declining resources over the past century have raised concerns about their sustainability. To confront this issue, a number of communities are currently strengthening local influence and accountability for local marine resources through revitalization of local traditions and resource knowledge. This renaissance of traditional community-based management and rediscovery of traditional techniques offers great promise for improving the condition of Hawai'i's coastal marine environment and the management of its fisheries.
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