Maunalua Bay once flourished with an abundance of diverse fish, plant, and marine life.
Early residents fished, gathered, and farmed sustainably. Land was divided into sections that ran from the mountains to the sea and were managed as one system.
What happened in one part affected the other parts, so people worked as a community to protect the land and water resources from mauka to makai. There were protections for these resources with strict penalties for not following the rules.
From the 1880s to the 1950s, Maunalua changed as the population grew. During this period, Maunalua was known for cattle grazing, farming, and its abundant fisheries.
While Maunalua Bay remained productive, changes in land use, including clearing of vegetation for grazing and farming, started its decline.
Rapid urbanization began in the 1950s.
Natural surfaces were paved over and concrete channels were built to protect our houses from flooding by funneling rainwater into Maunalua Bay.
Invasive alien algae came to Maunalua Bay over the past decades, some accidentally as "visitors" on ships and others intentionally for experiment or sale.
Over time, the konohiki system of strict fishing regulations and enforcement was left behind, more people fished and the marine environment decayed, all resulting in dwindling fish populations.
Today's problems -- the pollution, the invasive alien algae, the loss of fish -- occurred over time as a result of these changes.
History teaches us that what we do on land
affects the bay.
If we all work together, mauka to makai, Maunalua Bay can be restored.