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Education and Outreach

Cultural Feature: Koʻa, Fishing shrines

Koʻa, fishing shrine on Nihoa.
Koʻa, fishing shrine on Nihoa. Photo Credit: David Boynton

On Nihoa several koʻa (fishing shrines) are found along high ridges with expansive views of the ocean. Hawaiians made offerings at these koʻa to ensure bountiful harvests of fish, such as akule (Bigeye scad). The offering was often the first fish caught. Akule are an important food fish that school in great numbers in bays throughout Hawaiʻi. Koʻa are commonly constructed as a rectangular alignment of boulders open to the sea, and they are often adorned with coral skeletons, such as those of cauliflower coral (also called koʻa). Archaeologists are using carbon dating on fragments from these coral skeletons to try to determine dates for when Nihoa was inhabited.

Click Here to learn more about Hawaiian fishing traditions (you will be directed to a non-NOAA website).

Click Here for more information (you will be directed to a non-NOAA website).