While Hawaii does not require a saltwater fishing license for recreational fishing, that does not mean it lacks fishing rules and regulations. As a matter of fact, it has some of the most complex rules affecting recreational fishermen.
In addition to size and catch limits, there are also numerous “zones” that are rotated or designated as fish/no fish zones as conditions apply. This link will take you to the new Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources page with information on size, season, and catch limit page, as well as pictures for identification purposes.
There are also links on the page that will take you to information on the marine managed areas and their current fish/no fish status.
Here are some of the more common catches and their regulations:
- Aholehole: min size 5″ FL*
- Moi: Closed season June-August, min size 11″, daily limit of 15
- O’io/Bonefish: min size 14″ FL*
- Papio/Ulua/Jack Trevally: min size 10″, daily limit of 20
- Weke/’Oama: min size 7″ with a daily limit of 50 under 7″ (‘oama)
- Kumu: min size 10″
- Moano: min size 7″
Note: Weke, Kumu, and Moano are varieties of goatfish and you must know the difference between them if you are to stay out of trouble.
- Akule: Unlawful to take akule under 8-1/2 inches with net July through October, or possess or sell more than 200 pounds of akule under 8-1/2 inches per day from July through October.
Some of the videos posted on the internet clearly show undersized fish being taken. Unfortunately, many of the locals are either not aware of or don’t seem to care, about these rules and regulations. Fortunately, more and more are fishing responsibly including the practice of catch & release.
There is a license required for freshwater fishing, as well as seasons and limits, but they do not fall under the context of this blog.
Mahalo and Good Fishing!