Four of the 12 Bottomfish Restricted Fishing Areas (BRFAs) around the state are scheduled to re-open to Deep-7 bottomfish fishing on July 1, 2019. They include BRFA C (Makahū‘ena, Kaua‘i), BRFA F (Penguin Banks), BRFA J (Mokumana-Umalei Pt, Maui), and BRFA L (Leleiwi Pt, Hawai‘i Island).
Non-commercial fishers are still limited to taking or possessing a combined total of five “Deep 7” bottomfish per day. The “Deep 7” are:
a) ‘ula‘ula koa‘eor onaga (Etelis coruscans);
b) ‘ula‘ulaor ehu ( carbunculus);
c) kalekale(Pristipomoides sieboldii);
d) ‘ōpakapaka( filamentosus);
e) ‘ūkīkikior gindai ( zonatus);
f) hāpu‘u(Epinephelus quernus); and
g) lehi(Aphareus rutilans).
Photo credit: Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources
Non-commercial bottom fishers are also subject to federal permit and reporting requirements if fishing in federal waters.
Commercial bottom fishers who fish the re-opened BRFAs will have new, refined reporting requirements. They will need to provide the commercial catch reporting area number followed by the BRFA letter from which each fish was taken. Maps displaying the updated BRFA reporting requirements and more detailed instructions have been sent to licensed commercial bottom fishers and will be available on the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) website after July 1.
The new BRFA reporting requirement is based on a condition placed on DAR by the Board of Land of Natural Resources’ (BLNR) during a Public Meeting held in January 2019. DAR must monitor catch in the re-opened BRFAs, including pounds of fish taken and Catch Per Unit Effort, relative to other commercial catch reporting areas. DAR will use that data to prepare a report for the BLNR, due in January 2022.
Please contact your nearest DAR office with any questions about the new reporting requirements.