Hawaii is a beautiful place. Really. I love it. For a long, long time it was not thought of as a fly fishing mecca by most of the fly fishing public (as far as I know, any way). While that is starting to change, thanks to the presence of big, huge O’io (bonefish), there are other things that are slower to change.
Hawaii is still primarily a meat fishery. Lots of blue water, lots of dead fish and some tasty fish tacos. Mahi Mahi, Trevally, others.
I recently sat next to two native Hawaiians at a wedding reception and we started talking about bonefish (yes, pretty much all I talk about). The woman talked fondly about bonefish fish cakes that marked just about every important event in her childhood. Bonefish are still eaten in Hawaii. It has cultural connotations. The memo about the economic value of a bonefish hasn’t reached the islands.
There are some folks that are doing some good work, however. There is a tagging program at work in the Islands aimed at learning more about Hawaiian O’io. The Oceanic Institute and Hawai’i Pacific University have teamed up to launch the tagging program. I look forward to learning more about their work in the future.
I also look forward to a day when bonefish are not made into cakes and the locals are OK with that.