About Mokauea Fishermen's Association


The purpose of Mokauea Fishermen's Association (MFA) is:
  • To preserve Mokauea Island and the surrounding fishery as a traditional fishing village site in the local or Hawaiian style.
  • To protect our ability to live and practice as it has traditionally and customarily been done, as a Hawaiian fishing village.


Maps dating as far back as 1817 show the fishing village at Mokauea Island. At one time, the Ke'ehi Lagoon region was the home to as many as 41 fishponds that were eventually destroyed by dredging and development.
The island's fishing community has cultural roots and heritage that are believed to have extended to pre-historic times. Mokauea Island was once entirely self-sufficient due to a functional fishpond, cultivation of vegetable and medicinal plants, as well as limu (seaweed). And the surrounding area had a healthy supply of reef fish. This was an island that needed nothing more than a consistent environment and respect from others.
In 1972 the State attempted to evict the fishermen from Mokauea and the families were ordered off the island. Several fishermen were arrested for trespassing on land their families had lived on for generations. In June of 1975, in a final eviction attempt, the State burned down 5 fishermen's homes.
In response to these acts, the fishermen, with the help of John Kelly and his non-profit Save our Surf, organized the Mokauea Fishermen's Association (MFA). Subsequently, a formal historical study by the State Historic Preservation Office concluded that Mokauea was "an era of important historical concern."
The fishermen and their families rebuilt their homes, and the MFA began their work restoring and reviving the fishing village with the cooperation of the Army and groups of students, teachers, scholars, and scientists.

  • Nets drying on Mokauea island
    Photo by Ed Greevy


MFA continues to fulfill its mission today through educational tours of the village and Mokauea island, hosting community work days, and preserving and disseminating information on Hawaiian fishing villages, their traditions, lifestyle, fishpond technology, aquaculture, environmental needs and more. Find helpful links and more information by visiting our resources page.
There are many ways you can support MFA. Learn how you can coordinate a tour or workday and more.