Mamie-Jean Lamley and her family grew up on the Waianae coast of Oahu, directly across from the beach in the 70s and 80s. She can remember her grandfather, father, brother, and husband bringing home giant fish, octopus, and lobster daily for her entire upbringing.
Mamie recalls fishing practises that have been passed down through the generations to prevent overfishing and unsustainable harvesting: "we respected the ocean. When we picked up a lobster, if it was a certain size, we would not pick it. If it had eggs, we would not touch it, so there was a respect there."
"When my husband would go out [fishing] - our favourite was actually the parrotfish, we call it uhu - I could drop them off on one end of the beach, and then I'd pick them up 15 miles down the road and they'd come out and they'd have fish and lobster and octopus (tako). When they got out of the water - and their spears could be as tall as 14 feet - you could see an octopus dragging on the ground; that's how large it was. Today, if my brother knows I'm coming home, he'll go and try to get me some octopus, and the octopus that he's finding can fit in a [small produce bag from the grocery store] now."
"The majority of our diet came from the ocean, so it was very rare that we'd have meat unless we raised chickens. The majority of our dinners, especially on weekends, were all seafood. As I started to grow up, it's pretty sad...we tell the stories to our children about what we ate, and our kids can only see it in a tank now. You cannot get when we had when we were young"
Growing up, Mamie and her family saw the ocean as an endless supply of fish, lobster, and opihi (mussels). But now, not only are there fewer fish along the Waianae coast, but Mamie says the distribution and size of what is left has changed drastically.