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Hawaii Black Coral Diving

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants < 3
Target Species Black coral
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:  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 (collection by hand or with handheld tools). 

Distribution:  Fishing can occur in both state and federal waters, in depths between 100 ft and 300 ft. To protect confidentiality, the number of black coral diving trips in 2013 cannot be reported. 

Gear Description: Divers using SCUBA or rebreathers to harvest black coral by hand or with handheld tools.

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 federal fisheries management regime under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Hawaii Archipelago and implementing regulations under 50 CFR 665.260 through 665.270 includes mandatory permit and reporting requirements for black coral harvest in the Auau Channel Bed to facilitate monitoring of catch and effort. Regulations allow only selective harvest techniques, such as hand harvest or submersibles, and prohibit harvest of trees with a stem diameter less than 1 inch or a height of less than 48 inches. Black coral harvest at the Auau Channel Bed is also subject to an annual catch limit to prevent overfishing.  

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: black coral dive. It is unlawful to take, destroy, or possess any black coral with a base diameter of less than 0.75 inches from state waters.  


Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants 2
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 coral diving (until 2006)
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Estimated number of participants changed from 1 to < 3.
  • Name changed to “HI black coral diving” to better reflect the target species.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 2 to 1.


Updated June 19, 2017