Ku‘ula is known by native Hawaiians as the god and deity that controls the fish of the sea. He was said to have a human body that carried miraculous mana (power) from being possessed by the god Ku. This power allowed him to direct, control and influence all of the fish of the sea whenever he pleased. As a human, he chose to be a fisherman and he devoted his time to catching fish for his family. He fished with a big canoe and always filled it to the top whenever he went out.
Ku‘ula lived with his wife Hina and their son ‘Ai‘ai in Hana on the island of Maui. There he created a wall where he kept all kinds of fish. To some, this was known as being the first fish ponds in Hawai‘i. It should be noted that Ku‘ula always offered his first fish to a small fishing shrine, ko‘a, and this allowed him to always catch the fish he needed. He also shared his catch with his family and village.
Ku‘ula taught us that we must conserve the fish that we catch – but he also showed us that we must be willing to share so that our communities could become more sustainable. To this day, locals continue to restore and preserve fishing ponds that were used, while also creating new ones. Aquaculture will always be an important part of the Hawaiian culture! If you’re ever in Hawai‘i, check out the various fishing ponds so you can get an inside look at sustainability by native Hawaiians.
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