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Ancient Hawaiian Fish Ponds

Fish ponds were once a very important part of the Hawaiian society. Early settlers who first populated these islands practiced what we refer to today as aquaculture. The fish ponds provided for daily subsistence by "corralling" fish, within low lava-rock formed walls at shallow reef areas, so they'd be readily available and easy to catch. The fish would swim into the pond area through a sluice gate positioned where the currents occurred thus entrapping them with no possibility of escape.

Most of these "ocean ponds" were the properties of the ali'is (royalty and chieftans). On Hawaii Island, as a visitor today, you can experience a few such fish ponds in the areas Kaloko, Anaeho’omalu Bay (A-Bay), Mauna Lani and The Place of Refuge, the most prominent ones, all of which are along the Kohala and Kona Coasts. Today, these and other more remote ancient fish ponds are valued as important treasures.

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There once were many fish ponds in Hawaii but only a few remain. Most of the ancient fish ponds have been lost to some form of destruction whether it be from land development, environmental pollution, or just neglect being overgrown with plants. Consequently, a lot of resources goes into preserving the few that are left.

One example you can experience today is the preservation of the Koloko fish pond currently under reconstruction. Painstaking effort has been taken to complete the work for the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. It's a beautiful, pristine coastal area to walk just minutes from the old center of Kailua Kona. The restoration of the Koloko fish pond is well underway and is estimated to take years to completely clear invasive species so improve the water quality enough to sustain the fish species that will be reintroduced to the pond. The Koloko project isn't aimed to only rebuild the retaining wall but also to revitalize the aquaculture practice.

There is easy access to most of the ancient fish ponds we list, below, and they are in the near vicinity of Aloha Vacation Cottages. They are used as peaceful picnic spots and trail walks along the coastline.

Please be aware: the ancient fish ponds are not for wading in, snorkeling or for recreational fishing; this is unpermitted and would be offensive to do so.

The ancient fish ponds are cared for to preserve, experience, respect and enjoy their Hawaiian historical, cultural significance.

Aloha ‘aina (love of the land)

Experience The Ancient Hawaiian Fish Ponds

During your stay, take a walk around these most beautiful, easy-to-reach Ancient Hawaiian Fish Ponds at the following locations:

* Mauna Lani Resort (The Kalahuipua'a Fishponds)

Once you enter the resort, either drive to follow the sign to the public beach access. From the parking lot, it's a couple of minutes walking to reach the entrance to the fish pond where you can walk around it.

* Anaeho’omalu Beach (A-Bay Beach)

Enter the Waikoloa Beach Resort (via the Waikoloa Beach Drive) and follow the sign to the beach; park and walk a minute to reach the beach which is flanked by the ancient fish pond. There is a path to walk around the pond.

* Koloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is located on the west coast of the island of Hawai'i, approximately 3 miles south of the Keahole International Airport and 3 miles north of the town of Kailua-Kona, on the ocean side of Highway 19.

The visitor center, Hale Ho'okipa, is located half a mile north of the entrance to Honokohau Harbor. The Kaloko road gate is located across the highway from the Kaloko New Industrial Park (across from the big yellow "Kona Trade Center" building).

You can also access the park from the south end, by way of Honokohau Boat harbor. After you turn into the Harbor road take the first right turn and follow it until you see the Kona Sailing Club. Park in the gravel parking area and look to the right for the park gate. From here it is a 5 minute walk to ‘Ai’opio Fishtrap.

* Pu`uhonua O Honaunau - Place Of Refuge, National Historical Park

Use Highway 11 driving south approximately 20 miles from Kailua Kona. Between mileposts 103 and 104, at the Honaunau Post Office, turn right towards the ocean onto Hwy 160. Travel 3.5 miles and turn left at the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park sign.