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  • Joyce Mo

Joyce Mo's Internship with Ka Honua Momona International!

Aloha from Hawaii! For the past month (and last week of May), I have been in Molokai, Hawaii for an internship with Ka Honua Momona International (KHM), a nonprofit dedicated to fishpond restoration and being a model of sustainability, “mauka a makai” (from the mountains to the sea).

A fishpond is a manmade feature of aquaculture; Hawaiians 500-600 years ago created these fishponds with rock walls stacked in a specific way to make an estuary for fish to thrive in the fishpond. Small fish swim in through the Makaha (gateway in the Rockwall); they then grow and breed there in the fishpond. Hawaiians would catch the fish directly from the fishpond, without threatening the fish populations in the ocean. This was a very sustainable way of feeding off of the ocean, without ever damaging the biodiversity of the waters.

Fishponds have since been damaged, as people stopped caretaking them. KHM seeks to restore two of the fishponds on the island of Molokai. I have been working on mangrove (an invasive species) removal, botanical illustrations of the native plants in Hawaii, and planting more native plants on the land. Recently, I have also started a new project with one of the other interns on collecting data on the fishpond’s pH, dissolved oxygen, coliform bacteria, salinity, and temperature level to better monitor the health of the fishpond.

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