Social, cultural, economic, and environmental aspects of fishing are central considerations in contemporary fishery management decisions. Yet scientific research supporting such decisions around the United States has tended to focus primarily on environmental and economic aspects of marine fisheries. In this article we report on a project that was designed to improve understanding of social organizational aspects of fishing and potential intercommunity variability in patterns of seafood distribution in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Research methods included an extended period of ethnographic observation and in-depth interviews with networks of avid small-boat fishermen in two communities on the island of O'ahu. Findings make clear that the pursuit and distribution of seafood products are important organizing features of local societies in Hawai'i and that the nature and extent of selling, sharing, and consuming pelagic seafood vary between the study communities, indicating likely variation in the nature and extent of use of seafood landed elsewhere in the Islands. These findings ideally would be taken into account in any future policy-making processes that could result in new strictures on small-boat fisheries in this island region.
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Vol. 67 • No. 3