Monday, August 13, 2007

Ancient Hawaiian Fish Pond

These are a couple more pictures of the fish pond at Heeia.

"Fishponds were very abundant in prehistoric Hawai'i. Many fishponds are known to have been on the islands of Hawai'i, Maui, Lana'i, Moloka'i, O'ahu, and Kaua'i. Only in Hawai'i was there such an intensive effort to utilize practically every body of water, from seashore to upland forests, as a source of food, for either agriculture or aquaculture (Apple & Kikuchi, 1975).
The general term for a fishpond is loko (pond), or more specifically, loko i'a (fishpond). Loko i'a were used for the fattening and storing of fish for food and also as a source for kapu (forbidden) fish. A fish was kapu to the Hawaiians during its spawning season to allow a variety of fish to reproduce. Although the chief or commoners were unable to catch fish in the sea at specific time spans, they were available in the fishponds because fishponds were considered a part of the land. Also, ocean fishing was dependent upon conditions of weather and surf. When there were storms and high surf, fish was always still available from the fishpond (Summers, 1964).

He'eia Fishpond is a seashore pond (loko kuapa). Loko kuapa were fishponds made by building a wall of stone on a reef that would result in the enclosure of a water body (Henry, 1993). The length of He'eia fishpond wall is about 5,000 feet, one of the longest walls of any fishpond on O'ahu. The wall also encircles the entire 88 acres of the pond, which is unusual. Over the years, the completely walled pond became elevated above the general level of its surroundings. As a result, it was necessary to mend all breaks in the wall and seal all leaks as they occurred, so that the proper water level could be maintained inside the pond. If not, the water would drain out (Kelly, 1975)..."

And here's one more original photo - the ancient "loko kuapa" at low tide, houses behind it, and in the distance ( if you click on the picture) is a traffic jam on Hawaii State Highway 61, just before the tunnel through the "pali" where King Kamehameha drove an army of opposing warriors off the mountainside (

My wife and I were stuck on top some of "fifty two varieties of coral," rather than in traffic...

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