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Hawaii Inshore Handline Fishery

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 357
Target Species Includes opelu, akule, moana, weke ula, menpachi, nabeta, etc.
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: Bottlenose dolphins and rough-toothed dolphins have been reported as depredating bait or catch from handlines (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 marine mammal 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 the commercial inshore handline fishery. 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.

Distribution: Fishing can occur in both state and federal waters, near the reef or on the reef slope for reef associated species. In 2013, there were 3,797 fishing trips that reported using inshore handline gear.

Gear Description: Fishing from an anchored or drifting vessel for nearshore species using a vertical mainline with single/multiple leaders with lures or baited hooks, above or near the bottom. There is usually a terminal weight to keep the line taut and hanging vertically. The gear appears similar in configuration to that used for deep-sea handline, but is lighter in weight. The main line is usually of monofilament nylon. Light lines with multiple leaders and small lures called “damashi” are used for opelu and other coastal pelagics. Line can be retrieved manually or by a powered method, or using a rod and reel.

Management: 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). Hook-and-line gear is listed as allowable gear to harvest Hawaii coral reef ecosystem MUS in federal waters.

The Council recommends and NMFS approves annual catch limits (ACLs) for most coral reef MUS including akule and opelu, so species harvested using this gear may be subject to ACLs.

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: inshore handline.

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants 650
Basis for Original Classification

Listed as Category III based on commercial fishery permit. No observer, logbook, or stranding data are available.

Past Names None
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 376 to 357
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 378 to 376.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 416 to 378.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 460 to 416.
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 307 to 460.
  • Bottlenose dolphin (HI) deleted, since there were no interactions documented in the most recent five years of data.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 650 to 307.



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 June 19, 2017