Some important fishing regulation meetings are going to be held across the Hawaiian Islands.
The free statewide public workshops will be focusing on the new bottomfish fishery rules and regulations. A meeting – the first scheduled in the state – will be held in Kona at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel on Saturday July 23rd, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Hilo meeting will be held on Monday, July 25th at UH-Hilo in Room K-127 of the Kanakaole Bldg. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The meetings will be conducted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
From the state DLNR:
The workshops will feature interactive booths with information on the new state annual bottomfish vessel registration and new state commercial bottomfish reporting requirements.
In addition, there will be information on the changes to the bottomfish Deep-7 annual quota from a total allowable catch (TAC) to an annual catch limit (ACL) and what this means. Plus information on the federal non-commercial bottomfish permit and reporting program.
A forum will also be conducted by Council staff on the options for non-commercial fishery data collection.
The fishery is summarized on the Hawaii Bottomfish Fishery Website (http://www.hawaiibottomfish.info/):
Hawaii’s bottomfish fisheries catch a number of deepwater snappers and groupers. Each species is caught by skilled fishermen who target their fishing efforts for maximum efficiency. The targeting results in a very clean fishery with minimal bycatch.
Although bottomfish species utilize all of the available habitats within their depth ranges, they are typically fished in areas that concentrate them for feeding opportunities. Fishermen use information on seasonal availability, known depth ranges and relevant topography to target particular species. Uku (grey snapper) are seasonally abundant during the summer months at shallow depths (day or night fishery, surface to 50 fathoms) and can be caught by the usual bottomfishing methods as well as surface trolling. Onaga (day fishery, 100-200 fathoms) and opakapaka (day or night fishery, 50-100 fathoms) are seasonally abundant during the winter months and are caught with handlines when they concentrate along the deep slopes, pinnacles or other high relief areas.
The typical local bottomfish vessels are small, ranging in the 20- to 30-foot lengths. Their size makes fishing opportunities very weather dependent. In Hawaii the strong trade winds that blow much of the time reduce the available fishing opportunities for this local small vessel fleet. The basic handline gear has remained essentially unchanged from the design used by early Native Hawaiians.The gear consists of a mainline with a 3- to 5-pound weight attached to the end with 2 to 8 branch lines with circle hooks attached above the weight at 6- to 10-foot intervals. A chum bag containing chopped fish or squid is usually attached above the highest of these hooks to attract the fish. The gear is retrieved using a mechanical line hauler after one or more fish are hooked. Each fish is treated with loving care as the value of the fish is contained not only in its freshness but also in its unblemished appearance.
The Deep-7 Bottomfish fishery closed on March 12, 2011 when the total allowable catch limit of 254,050 pounds was projected to be reached for the Main Hawaiian Islands.
For more information about the Federal regulations call: National Marine Fisheries Service (808) 944-2200 or
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (808) 522-8220
Call the Division of Aquatic Resources at (808) 587-0084 for information about the new State commercial bottomfish reporting requirements and annual bottomfish vessel registration. Call (808) 587-0092 for questions about all other new state bottomfish regulations.