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Hawaii Kona crab loop net

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF:

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 33
Target Species Kona crab
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:  Stranding records and other information suggest several marine mammal species may be killed or injured in unidentified fishing nets (e.g., Bradford and Lyman 2015). However, no mortalities or serious injuries to any marine mammal
have been attributed to the commercial Kona crab loop net fishery. The likelihood of marine mammal mortalities or serious injuries in this fishery is considered to be remote because of gear configuration and fishing method (small, nets stretched across a frame, short soak time). 

Distribution:  Fishing can occur in both state and federal waters. Fishing occurs from small boats in coastal or offshore bank areas, generally in depths of 15 – 30 fathoms. The fishery is closed during breeding season May-August. Kona crabs typically do not enter the net during the night, so fishing is exclusively conducted during the day. In 2013, there were 83 fishing trips that reported using Kona crab loop net gear. 

Gear Description: Fishing with a fine stranded-netting stretched over a round or square metal frame to form a flat net. Nets may be fished singly or stranded together into a single mainline. Multiple nets are attached to a mainline and set on sandy bottoms like a string of traps. The crabs are trapped when they get entangled in the mesh. Soak time for each string is short, varying from 30 minutes to an hour. Strings are retrieved by hand.

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). Hoop net for Kona crab is listed as allowable gear to harvest Hawaii coral reef ecosystem MUS in federal waters. The Council recommends and NMFS approves an annual catch limit (ACL) for Kona crab. 

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: Kona crab net. Hawaii Administrative Rules specify that the fishery is closed from May – August, only crabs of
at least 4 inches carapace length may be retained, spearing is prohibited, and the taking or killing of females is prohibited.  

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (2006)
Original Number of Participants 42
Basis for Original Classification Listed as Category III because no mortality or
serious injury of marine mammals has been reported in the fishery.
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 35 to 33
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 48 to 35.
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 46 to 48.
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 41 to 46.
  • Estimated number of participants decreased from 42 to 41.

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.

Updated June 19, 2017