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Hawaii Spearfishing

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants


Target Species Various marine species.
Applicable Take Reduction Plans None
Gear Type Dive, Hand/Mechanical Collection
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured None Documented

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

(1) Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification on the LOF: There are no known incidental mortalities or serious injuries of marine mammals in this fishery, and there is a remote likelihood of marine mammal interactions because the fishing method is highly selective.

Gear Description: Fishing with a shaft with one or more sharpened points at one end. Spearfishing is usually associated with diving, but also includes non-diving activities, such as bow and torch fishing.

Spatial/temporal distribution of effort: Spearfishing can potentially occur in all state and federal waters. In 2013, there were 1,954 spearfishing trips.

Observer coverage: Not observed.

Management and regulations: The fishery is monitored and managed by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), NMFS, and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, as appropriate. In general, fisheries are managed for the species harvested rather than by gear, but in some cases there are specific management measures for particular gear types or methods.

The Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Hawaii Archipelago and implementing regulations under 50 CFR 665.220 through 665.239 include a list of allowable gear and methods for harvesting Hawaii coral reef ecosystem management unit species (MUS) in the FEP management area (U.S. EEZ, outside of state waters). Use of gear or a method not listed as allowable requires a special permit pursuant to 50 CFR 665.224(1)(iii). Spear is listed as an allowable gear to harvest Hawaii coral reef MUS in federal waters.

The Council recommends and NMFS approves annual catch limits (ACLs) for most coral reef MUS, so species harvested in this fishery may be subject to ACLs.

A commercial marine license issued by Hawaii DAR is required for all commercial fishing activities. This fishery corresponds to the following fishing method(s) defined by DAR: spearing/spearfishing.

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants 267
Basis for Original Classification

Listed as Category III because the fishery was expected to have a remote likelihood of incidental serious injury or mortality of marine mammals. No observer, logbook, or stranding data were available.

Past Names “HI squiding, spear” (until 2011).
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 267 to 91
  • Renamed “HI spearfishing” to reflect the multiple target species of spearfishing.
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 91 to 163.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 163 to 144
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 144 to 143
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 143 to 159
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 159 to 163

Updated June 19, 2017