The commercial fishing and seafood industry if the Hawaiian Islands is centered in the Port of Honolulu, which receives approximately 72% of the total Hawaiian fish landings. The majority of this fresh as can be fish is being sold through the Honolulu Fish Auction immediately upon unloading of the vessel.
Fish quality absolutely counts in Hawaii and thus the fish are always chilled in ice and must be landed fresh. Compared with other United States ports, Honolulu Port has a relatively low volume and fish tonnage (30th in the Natoin), but we are considered a high value fishery (8th in the Nation) with a total landed fish value of $62.0+ million.
In or around the State of Hawaii (200 mile radius), only American flagged vessels are permitted to commercially fish and deliver that fish directly to Hawaiian ports, and in particular the Honolulu Fish Market. Also, nets are never used to commercially catch open water pelagics and/ or deep water bottom fish. In fact, it is Hook and line techniques that are being used by longline, trolling, hand-line, pole & line and bottom fishing vessels when they are trying to harvest.
When it comes to quanity and quality, no one has it better than Hawaii. Our Longliners are the main producers of premium quality bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, swordfish and other open ocean fish in the U.S. Market. Longliners must fish further than 50 nautical miles from Hawaiian shorelines. In most cases, these longliners will go way off shore – beyond 200 miles – and into international waters.
When it comes to Trolling, Handlining and other Pole & Line type fisherman, these boats are primarily fishing within 1 – 30 nautical miles from Hawaiian Shores. On the Big Island, known worldwide for its abundance of Blue Marlin gamefish, fisherman are dropping their lines right outside Honokohau Harbor and very rarely go further than 10 miles offshore. Hawaiian trolling boats produce outstanding high grade/ high quality mahimahi, ono, Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin and Spearfish. The Handliners of Hawaii produce summertime yellowfin tuna and other tunas when they can be quite abundant if fished for. Pole & line boats produce premium quality skipjack (aku), which is the Hawaiian island favorite for raw fish preparations, but these pole and line fisherman will also produce a few other varieties including Opah, Rainbow Runners, Tombo’s and Yellowtail. Hawaiian Bottom fishing vessels are the fisherman producing Hawaii’s prized “Deep 7” species including, but not limited to: Onaga, Opakapaka, Lehi, Ehu, Uku, Hapu’upu’u and others.