Our Islands, Our Future

Mama’s Fish House, family-owned by Floyd and “Mama” Doris Christenson, has been buying fish directly from Maui fisherman for over 40 years. These local fishermen, representing a way of life, culture and tradition in Hawai’i, consistently deliver the freshest and finest local Maui seafood. In May 2013, Mama’s Fish House, in cooperation with Maui fishermen and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Wespac), funded and deployed the first of two fishing buoys approximately 30 miles off the northeast shore of Maui. The buoys are technically called a Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) and are anchored to the seafloor at a depth of over 1500 ft. “They are located in deep, off-shore waters that are habitat for pelagic species such as tuna, mahi-mahi, ono, and billfish,” said Mama’s Fish House Marketing Director Karen Christenson. “The concept of a FAD is a small platform or skiff that is anchored to the ocean floor, with a GPS beacon for tracking,” Christenson explained. “The floating buoy attracts the fish, offering some protection for smaller fish that, in turn, attract larger predator fish.”

“FADs have proven to be a successful sustainable food source while reducing transit times and fuel costs for fishermen,” said Mama’s Fish House Executive Chef Perry Bateman. While the State of Hawaii maintains a network of FADs across the islands with the objective of providing recreational fishing opportunities, Mama’s FAD is different. “It is the first buoy funded by a private business to support the fishermen and Wespac’s research,” Chef Perry said.

Recognizing that data collection is critical to ensuring sustainability for local Hawai’i fish stocks, Mama’s Fish House encourages fishermen to submit their catch reports to the State of Hawai’i and Wespac. “Having accurate reports is being pono, doing the right thing, and perpetuating our culture of fishing,” said Chef Perry. He added that all Hawai’i-licensed fishermen can fish at Mama’s Fish House funded buoys and sell their catch to anyone. “The goals of community FAD projects are to increase fishing opportunities and cooperative research, and to provide community benefits.”