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Hawaii Vertical Line

Current Classification on 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 3
(in 2013)
Target Species Various pelagic species
Applicable Take Reduction Plans None
Observer Coverage Not observed
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

Several species of odontocetes have been reported as depredating bait or catch from hook-and-line fisheries (Shallenberger 1981, Nitta and Henderson 1993). Depredation behavior may increase the risk of marine mammals becoming hooked or entangled. Stranding records and other information suggest several odontocete species may be killed or injured in unidentified hook-and-line fisheries (e.g., Bradford and Lyman 2015, NMFS PIR Marine Mammal Response Network, Baird et al. 2014). However, at this time, no serious injuries or mortalities to any marine mammal have been attributed to commercial vertical line fishing. Based on an evaluation of information available at this time, there is a remote likelihood of marine mammal serious injuries or mortalities in this fishery.


Fishing occurs near drop-offs, deep ledges, offshore fish aggregating devices, or offshore seamounts and pinnacles in state and federal waters. In 2013, there were 11 fishing trips that reported using vertical line gear.

Gear Description

This fishery uses set line gear. Fishing using a vertical mainline, less than one nautical mile in length and suspended from the surface with a float, from which leaders with baited hooks are attached and ending with a terminal weight.


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.

In federal waters, harvest of Western Pacific pelagic management unit species is managed in accordance with the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region and implementing regulations under 50 CFR 665.798 through 665.819.  

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


Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (2011)
Original Number of Participants 18
Basis for Original Classification

 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, warranting a Category III classification

Past Names “HI vertical longline” (until 2015)
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Renamed from “HI vertical longline” to “HI vertical line.”
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 9 to 6.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 10 to 9.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 18 to 10


Baird, R.W., S.D. Mahaffy, A.M. Gorgone, T. Cullins, D.J. McSweeney, E.M. Oleson, A.L. Bradford, J. Barlow, and A.N. Zerbini. 2014. Evidence of high levels of fisheries interactions for false killer whales around the main Hawaiian Islands: Variations by social groups and correlation with increased mortality levels. PSRG-2014-15. 10 p.

Bradford, A.L. and E. Lyman. 2015.  Injury determinations for humpback whales and other cetaceans reported to NOAA Response Networks in the Hawaiian Islands during 2007-2012. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-45. 29 p.

Nitta, E.T. and J.R. Henderson. 1993. A review of interactions between Hawaii’s fisheries and protected species. Marine Fisheries Review 55(2): 83-92.

Shallenberger, E.W. 1981. The status of Hawaiian cetaceans. Final Report to U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, MMC-77/23. 79 p.

Updated January 14, 2017