Grow local, eat local, conserve local: Conservation magazine reports on a fishing calendar for Mo’omomi Bay on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Here’s the kicker: It tells locals when not to fish.

This community on Molokai’s remote coast still subsists on what it catches: Roughly a third of all its food comes from the bay. So it can’t afford to squander it. Based on the lunar cycle, the fishing calendar collects generations of knowledge about the local schools: when different species are spawning and thus off-limits, how to tell a fish’s age or sex, where fish are likely to gather. (For a more detailed explanation, see this paper [pdf].)

This backyard knowledge has preserved the population: Total fish biomass is far higher there than elsewhere in Hawaii. It’s a promising result. As a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries ecologist says, the calendar proves there isn’t necessarily “a natural conflict between being both the user and the manager of a particular resource,” and it suggests that the most effective way of managing stocks is “through local tenure and control.”

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