Hawaii consumes more fish per capita than any other state. But where does this fish come from, how is it caught, and what are the issues underlying Hawaii’s biggest food producing system (the longline fishery)?
TIES THAT BIND: HAWAII IN THE PACIFIC offers an unprecedented look into the ocean-to-table journey of Hawaiian ahi and does so within the context of issues facing commercial fishing internationally. Various groups weigh in and provide the narrative voice for this film. They are NOAA scientists, fishermen, policy makers, environmental advocates, chefs, and more.
Hawaiian seafood is world-renowned for its freshness and sustainability, largely because of the strict environmental laws and quotas that American boats have to abide by. Japanese, Korean, and Chinese boats are able to catch many times over the quota of American boats in the Pacific. But international competition is not the only controversy facing the Hawaiian fleet.
As recent as September of this year an Associated Press investigation found that around 140 boats based in Honolulu were crewed by hundreds of men from impoverished Southeast Asian and Pacific Island nations, trapped onboard the boats in slavery-like conditions. A legal loophole allows them to work without visas as long as they don’t set foot on shore.
Another controversial issue for Hawaii's fishing industry is the Papahānaumokuākea national marine monument, expanded by President Barack Obama in 2016, to half-million-square-miles around the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It is now the largest protected area anywhere on Earth, a sanctuary for endangered species, and a no-take zone for Hawaii's longline fleet.
Whether you love to eat fish, are concerned about the survival and sustainability of our oceans, or have no idea where your fish comes from, this is a must-see documentary for everyone who lives in the Pacific and beyond.
This film will be preceded by short film KŪ KANAKA (STAND TALL). As part of HIFF's Film For Thought program in partnership with the Hawaii Council for the Humanities the first screening of this program will be followed by a special extended discussion with director Caleb McMahan (TIES THAT BIND), director Marlene Booth (KŪ KANAKA), and University of Hawaii professor Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua.