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Hawaii Kaka Line Fishery

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 15
Target Species Various nearshore 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 kaka 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.

Distribution: Hawaii state waters, generally nearshore, and shallow federal waters. In 2013, there were 33 fishing trips that reported using kaka line gear.

Gear Description: Fishing with a gear consisting of a mainline less than one nautical mile in length to which are attached multiple branchlines with baited hooks. Mainline is set horizontally, and fixed on or near the bottom in shallow water, or midwater for pelagic further offshore. Snappers, jacks, and other reef associated predators are the usual targets, though pelagic species may be caught occasionally. 

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). Kaka line gear is not a gear type specifically allowed to harvest Hawaii coral reef ecosystem MUS in federal waters. The FEP for Pacific Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region may also apply if pelagic species are harvested using kaka line gear.

The Council recommends and NMFS approves annual catch limits (ACLs) for most coral reef MUS, so species harvested using this gear may be subject to ACLs. ACLs are not specified for most pelagic species.

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: kaka line.

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (2011)
Original Number of Participants 28
Basis for Original Classification While this fishery has gear that may be analogous in some ways to the Category II “HI shortline” fishery, the gear is set differently- fixed on or near the bottom, or in shallow midwater. 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.
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 24 to 15
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 17 to 24
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 24 to 17
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 28 to 24



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