The cultural significance of the loko pu’uone fish ponds was they were used for ceremonial purposes and to ensure the resources were not depleted. The larger and nicer fish ponds were reserved for the Ali’i. The smaller fish ponds could serve the need of the families in the area. The fish ponds were used to raise fish, edible sea weed and small animals. The rolls of men and women were different. The men would hold one side of the net while another man beat the water to scare the fish into the net. Women usually harvested the fish, although the men could also help. Smaller fish were caught in the ocean and brought to the pond to grow and when the fish were big enough they were harvested. To harvest the fish, the gatekeeper of the makaha (gate) would go to the gate at high tide to see if the fish were gathered there. Fish like to gather in areas of current and they would go to the gate as seawater rushed in. The Hawaiians would than throw taro or other bait, for example crushed crabs, near the makaha. Men would hold a net while another man would beat the water to scare the fish into the net. This was called Pa’lpa (Strike). In the early 1900s, the Chinese showed the Hawaiians how to make two sliding gates to control the tides and trap the fish in-between. This improved the catch.
Loko pu’uone fish ponds are inland ponds. It was build where there was a natural depression such as a mud flat or a pond. It had brackish water (half salt, half fresh) because it was connected to a stream. Brachish water was believed to make the fish fat. Kealia Pond is a good example of this kind of fish pond. It was now no longer a fish pond but wetlands and a bird sanctuary.
The pond was constructed near the shore. The weeds and the vegetation was cleared. The mud was dug to the depth that they wanted. The mud was dug up like a wall. When the tide is high some of the ocean water gets into the pond. The ponds were made of natural mud. They have a wall where the ponds meets the sea so the small fish can come in and the big fish won’t go out.
Hawaiian Name: Ama’ama
Common Name: Mullet
Hawaiian Name: Awa
Common Name: Milkfish
Hawaiian Name: Aholehole
Common Name: Flagtail
Hawaiian Name: Moi
Common Name: Thread fish
•When the tide comes into the pond the fish comes in and the big fish gets stuck when the tide goes out.
•Sometimes the Hawaiians get the fish from the ocean and put them in the pond.
•The fish grown in the Loko Pu’uone served the needs of the community and the families that lived nearby and tended the pond.
Hawaiian Name: Lemu
Common Name: Seaweed
Hawaiian Name: None
Common Name: Diatoms
•The diatoms feed some of the fish that live in the pond.