Ed Watamura’s

 LokahiFishingEd-Watamura
I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Like many children in Hawaii, I grew up with an affinity for the ocean. Many of our activities were centered around the rhythm of the sea. We swam, body surfed, board surfed, dived, and fished. My father was a fishermen along with many of my relatives and friends. The tradition of fishing and eating our catch was a source of joy, satisfaction, pride, and camaraderie. After High School, I followed my talent for art and embarked on my next adventure, which was the School of Visual Arts in New York City. This was quite a change for a Hawaii boy, but I was able to acclimate. I even worked my way through school by driving a cab. Yes, can you believe it, a Hawaii boy as a New York City cab driver. I started out in school pursuing fine art, but soon realized how difficult it might be trying to earn a living as a fine artist. After two years in the fine art curriculum I decided to switch over to the photography department. A lifelong love was born and I have been a photographer ever since.  Having seen the underbelly of the “City” while driving a cab and also yearning for a climate closer to home, I decided to move to California, following my education. After a few years working as an assistant to other photographers. I decided to jump in with two feet into a career of advertising photography. I had the good fortune of starting a business in a bourgeoning market, as the Orange County area was in the beginning years of a blossoming business explosion. After 25 years of success, photographing for many clients with household names, I decided to fulfill my yearnings to move back home. I restarted my photo business in Hawaii and as a result of my previous work, was welcomed into the fold.  I have been a fisherman for as long as I can remember. My very first memories of fishing were when my Uncle Muraoka had the lease of the Menehune Fish Pond. As a young child, I spent many a summer day bamboo pole fishing for aholehole and other small fish. The Pond was vibrant with fish. In fact, my uncle and his brothers harvested mullet with a pai pai net and a small skiff, to cover the cost of the lease. There were wooden pens filled with awaawa’s and samoan crabs. The tragic ending to this fairy tale environment was the poisoning of the pond by toxic chemicals flowing down from the sugarcane fields. Thousands upon thousands of fish were dead, floating on the surface. I never have given up my passion for fishing, however, I realized that it takes a lot of hard work to champion the motto “Fishing Forever”.

I gravitated towards Fisheries Management in order to continue the fight to preserve fishing for the generations to follow. My history of involvement includes, on a local level, being Chairman of the Advisory Panel to the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council, on a National level, a member of the Recreational Fishing Working Group to advise the Marine Fisheries Advisory Council, a member and principal speaker at the Recreational Fishing Summit, a member of the steering committee for the MRIP program and the upcoming Recreational Fishing Summit, and on an international level, a member of the WCPFC Permanent Advisory Committee and a member of the USA delegation to the Commission meetings in Manila and Cairns Australia. I have participated in countless special working groups, most notably the Deep Seven Bottomfish Stock Assessment fishermen’s advisory group. Most recently I had the huge honor of being selected to serve as a Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council Member. At the grass roots level, I am the President of the Waialua Boat Club, The oldest of it's kind in Hawaii. We are going on our 67th year and I am proud to say we are going strong with a growing membership. We are not just a "Boat Club" we are always participating in any community activity that relates to fishing. We have volunteered our time to assist in events, such as The Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival, The Fishing for Hawaii's Hungry Tournament, Haleiwa Harbor cleanup and restoration, the Annual Boy Scout Makahiki, and a Tournament that donated over 700 pounds of fish to Lanakila Meals on Wheels. Our latest Fishing For Hawaii’s Hungry Tournament donated over 1700 pounds of fresh, high quality fish, to feed the Homeless through IHS. I am also one of the founding members and the Vice-President of HFACT ( Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition ). HFACT is a not-for-profit organization, that advocates for the fishermen of Hawaii, and acts as a liaison between the fishermen and the government agencies. We are recognized as the “go to” organization within the Legislature, DLNR, WPRFMC, NOAA, and other government fishing agencies.

LokahiFishingEd-Watamura_Whopper-Stopper

In conclusion, I just want to say that much of the past 25 years of my life has been dedicated to Fisheries Management and the battle to preserve fishing for the generations to come.