Ulupono Initiative

Kaupulehu and Kiholo Marine Area

Supporting the restoration of nearshore fisheries on Hawaii Island.

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    Photo credit: Kydd Pollock

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Through the Ulupono donor-advised fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation, Ulupono Initiative supports The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii (TNC) and Conservation International (CI) in their joint Kaupulehu and Kiholo Marine Management Area project on Hawaii Island.

The project combines community-based management of nearshore marine resources with the restoration of a coastal area and fishpond that will serve as both a hatchery for larval replenishment of the protected fisheries, as well as a modest aquaculture resource for the community.

It is also conducting scientific studies and surveys, which will provide important data that is currently lacking. This will inform management efforts and identify which communities benefit the most from increased fish production, as well as potentially leading to an increase in both fish and catch.

Nearshore fisheries in Hawaii are in decline, with an estimated 74% of local fisheries in depleted or critical condition. Together, Kaupulehu and Kiholo cover eight miles of coastline in West Hawaii, and represent a rare opportunity to document the full effect of community-based stewardship of fisheries and a functioning fishpond on the nearshore coral reef ecosystem, local fisheries and fishers, the adjacent community and other relevant stakeholders.

The mission of TNC is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. In Hawaii, TNC efforts are focused on climate change, forests and watersheds, marine conservation and invasive species.

CI is a non-profit environmental organization with a mission to protect nature and its biodiversity for the benefit of humanity. The purpose of CI’s Hawaii Fish Trust is to restore nearshore seafood security through strategic partnerships and focused investments.

Why We Invested

Aligned with our local food goals, Ulupono Initiative believes that by working with the local community, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy can make an important difference in the health and productivity of Hawaii’s marine environment. The project’s data will also help to inform Ulupono on future funding decisions related to fisheries in Hawaii.


  • Assists communities with the restoration of nearshore fisheries on Hawaii Island
  • Conducts much-needed scientific studies and surveys to gather important data to be used in management and community efforts
  • Could potentially lead to an increase in both fish and catch

At a Glance

Investment Area
Financial Model
Total Investment


The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii: $100,000
Conservation International: $49,961

Support for the Kaupulehu and Kiholo Marine Management Area project is provided through grants from the Ulupono Donor-Advised Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Conservation International
The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii