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Hanalei Makai Watch

Hanalei Makai Watch

The Hawai’i Makai Watch Program is a collaborative, statewide program where citizens and NGOs become directly involved with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in the management of marine resources through promoting compliance to rules, education, and monitoring. The Makai Watch approach is based on the idea that people who use, deal with, or live closest to the natural and cultural resources are in the best position to help in understanding the nature of the area. Community members are the ‘eyes and ears’ that look out for their resources, and their direct involvement reduces inappropriate uses of those resources. The concept is not new, but is a modern reflection of the Hawaiian system of ahupua’a (mountain to sea) management practices by the people and led by konohiki (caretakers) and the aha councils (groups of experts). This system recognizes that the people who use a resource ultimately are responsible for its long-term health.

The Hanalei Watershed Hui is proud to sponsor the Hanalei Makai Watch Program. Volunteers are welcome and will receive training. Please contact Makaala if you would like to be a part of this exciting opportunity to take care of our Hanalei.

I na malama ‘oe i ke kai, malama no ke kai ia ‘oe.
If you care for the ocean, the ocean will care for you.


The program aims to enhance management of Hanalei Bay with the community’s assistance in three areas:

  • Awareness Raising and Outreach: Makai Watch participants provide ocean users with information about marine ecology, culture, history, regulations, safety, and appropriate behavior.

  • Biological and Human-Use Monitoring: Makai Watch participants collect information on the human use of marine resources (fishing, kayaking, collecting, etc.) and on the biological condition of those resources. Ongoing monitoring allows communities to gauge the success of their project. In-creased numbers of fish or improved coral health are strong indicators that their efforts are effecting positive change.

  • Observation and Compliance: Makai Watch participants observe the area, encourage users to learn and obey area regulations, and identity and report illegal activities to state enforcement officers.


While Makai Watch will improve the protection of marine resources, it is not an enforcement program. Makai Watch volunteers do not have enforcement powers. Instead, Makai Watch participants act as “eyes and ears” for DOCARE. Volunteers are trained prior to participation.  


Training includes:

  • Current rules pertaining to Hanalei Bay

  • Island-wide regulated species (sizes, seasons, bag limit)

  • How to safely and accurately observe and document violations

  • How to report information to DOCARE

  • Community outreach and education

  • Ahupua’a system/traditional resource management


Makai Watch is not a substitute for the government roles in educating the public about marine resources and in enforcing resource regulations. Government will continue to play these roles; however, Makai Watch will help government to enhance their efficacy.

Makai Watch is a means for concerned citizens to play a role in ensuring proper management of marine resources. Through the combination of encouraging compliance and providing information to enforcement officers, Makai Watch will reduce inappropriate uses of marine resources, thus helping Hawai‘i’s near-shore marine ecosystem to recover.

If you would like to become a Hanalei Makai Watch volunteer, please contact us.

We offer free community Makai Watch trainings throughout the year.  Please contact us if you are interested.

To report violations, call 643-DLNR or download the DLNRTip app on your phone.

Pono Practices
While the following are not law, we ask that everyone follow these practices that help ensure the health of the reef ecosystem.

  • Step in sandy areas, not on the living coral.

  • Pick up trash from the water and the beach.

  • Don’t feed the fish.

  • Keep a safe distance from all marine life.

  • Take only pictures—leave all shells and coral.

  • Only use sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients.

  • Use the public restrooms.

  • Help to keep Hawai‘i beautiful by sharing this information with your friends.

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