Loko’i’a: Hawaiian Aquaculture

Ever wanted to catch fish without actually fishing? Hawaiians created an ingenious way to farm fish in their natural habitat by building an enclosed section of ocean.  There they raised fish, somewhat like raising animals on a farm. Loko’i’a or fishponds were made by building a large stone wall with a gate.   Smaller fish were able to swim in to feed, protected from larger predators which were too big to fit through the gate.  Soon the smaller fish had grown too large to exit through the gate. It was then the simple task of lawai’a or fishermen to gather what fish they needed, using only a throw net.


fale_fishingThe Hawai’ians moved out to the open sea for larger fish. A “fishing house” was always located close to the seashore, where Hawaiian fishermen could mend their nets and prepare fishing gear. Such nets and lines were valued possessions.

Along with a farmer, a fisherman was deemed a man of great wealth. He provided the main source of protein for his family, using fish-hooks made out of human bones, tortoise and oyster shells, and pig or dog bones. He used certain hardwoods and rough lava rock to shape the fish hooks. He usually fashioned his poles from bamboo, and wove his nets with cordage made from olona vine or coconut husk fibers.







Nina S Jones

Nina S Jones

Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 39 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.

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