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Hawaii offshore pen culture

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF:

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants < 3

Target Species Finfish
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. Operations are individually reviewed during the permitting process to evaluate risk to marine mammals, and they are considered to have a remote likelihood of marine mammal interactions.

Distribution:  Offshore aquaculture operations are primarily conducted in state waters less than 2 miles from shore on the leeward side (southwest) of the Oahu and Hawaii Island as these areas are protected from the predominant northeasterly tradewinds. Since added to the LOF in 2006, there have been fewer than three offshore aquaculture operations annually

Gear Description: Aquaculture is the controlled propagation and rearing of aquatic organisms for any commercial, recreational, or public purpose. This definition covers all production of finfish, shellfish, plants, algae, and other marine organisms for 1) food and other commercial products, 2) wild stock replenishment for commercial and recreational fisheries, 3) rebuilding populations of threatened or endangered fin-fish species under species recovery and conservation plans, and 4) restoration and conservation of marine and habitat.

In Hawaii, offshore pen culture (or open ocean aquaculture) is a type of aquaculture that involves using a three-dimensional pen, net, or cage-type enclosure either, moored or unmoored to cultivate, catch, and harvest the fish. Typically, juvenile fish from a wild or hatchery-produced stock are grown out in this enclosure to a desired sized and then harvested. Offshore pen culture does not include the Hawaii fishponds.

Management: 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). Offshore aquaculture pens are not listed as allowable gear, and require a special permit under the FEP if operating in federal waters and are used to harvest Hawaii coral reef ecosystem MUS. Depending on size and location, offshore aquaculture in federal waters may require federal permits from the U.S Army Corp of Engineers, U.S Coast Guard, and Department of Health.

In addition to federal permits, offshore aquaculture in state waters require a State of Hawaii aquaculture license, and Conservation District Use Permit both issued by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and a special management area permit from the affected county.


Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (2006)
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 None
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A

Updated June 19, 2017