Four Molokai fishermen face arraignment for confrontation with Oahu divers

File Photo: Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

Four Molokai men will face arraignment and hearings in Maui Circuit Court later this month after being arrested and charged for their roles in a confrontation between two groups of fishermen in Molokai waters back in May.

On November 25, Albert K. Dudoit, Jr., 27; Robin W. Dudoit, 57; Floyd Kumukoa Kapuna, 31; and Kaiula K. English, 28, were arrested by Maui Police Department and DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers, and charged with two counts of robbery in the second degree, unauthorized first degree entry into a motor vessel, terroristic threatening in the first degree, and harassment.

All of the men were released after posting $50,000 bail each. The Grand Jury returned indictments on the four men stemming from an incident which occurred in Molokai waters in May 2014 in which the men are accused of illegally boarding a vessel in state waters.

The vessel used by the four men was seized as evidence and transported to Maui with the assistance of a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft.

The incident occurred of east of Molokai between island residents and a group of Honolulu divers who came over on a boat to fish.

“An altercation took place, some fishing equipment was damaged, a person was either shoved or fell overboard,” said William Aila, DLNR chair and director. ” At that point, the two parties separated themselves.”

The state said the incident apparently stems from a long-running dispute between residents and outsiders who come to fish and hunt at the island.

People on Molokai said many outsiders do not seem to understand that this is an island where close to 40 percent of the people rely heavily on farming, fishing and hunting.

“It’s like going into somebody’s store, going into somebody’s ice box and just taking food without asking permission,” said Molokai activist Walter Ritte. “That’s how valuable these resources are. They are not just for recreation, they’re for survival.”

Both Aila and Ritte said people should respect each other on the water, and the department and the people of Molokai are working on a community-based plan that would protect, preserve and better manage the resources on Molokai both on and off the water.

“We can’t be using violence. That just leads to more violence,” said Ritte. “That’s not the way to solve problems. It’s never been the right way.”

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