How We Fish
The Hawaii Fishing Industry can be described by fishing gear and methods. Hook and line methods are used by longline, trolling, handline, pole & line and bottomfishing vessels to catch a variety of pelagic and deepwater bottomfish species.
No nets are used to harvest open-ocean or deepwater bottomfish in Hawaii. Only American flagged vessels are allowed to fish within Hawaii’s 200-mile limit and deliver fish directly to Hawaii ports.
So, where do Hawaii’s best quality fish come from? Well, it depends on the method and the species.
Longliners are the main producers of premium quality bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, swordfish and other open ocean fish.
They operate beyond 50 nautical miles from Hawaii shores, often far off shore – beyond 200 miles – within international waters.
Trollers, handliners and pole & line boats tend to fish within 50 nautical miles of Hawaii shores. Trollers produce outstanding-quality mahimahi, ono and marlin (kajiki and nairagi).
Handliners produce summer yellowfin tuna and other tunas.
Pole & line boats produce premium quality skipjack (aku), an island favorite for raw fish preparations.
Bottomfishing boats produce Hawaii’s sought after onaga, opakapaka, uku, hapu’upu’u and others.