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Closed Season on Moi Begins June 1

May 25, 2017, 10:18 AM HST · Updated May 25, 10:20 AM
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The closed season on moi fish, or Pacific threadfin, begins on June 1 and runs through August in Hawaiʻi waters.

“Moi is one of Hawai‘i’s most significant fish species, from a cultural perspective,” said Bruce Anderson, administrator, Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources.

Moi, photo by Wendy Osher/Maui Now

“In ancient times it was reserved only for chiefs; commoners were forbidden to eat it. But if moi suddenly appeared in large numbers, chiefs considered it an omen of disaster,” said Anderson.

“Today we still value it as one of our most sought-after reef fishes,” he said. “The closed season helps sustain moi populations by protecting them during their critical summer spawning period. We ask for the fishing public’s kōkua in complying with the closed season, and protecting our ocean resources.”

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Early Hawaiians also placed a kapu or prohibition on certain fish during their spawning season as a conservation measure.

During the open season – September through May – the minimum size for moi is 11 inches, and the bag limit for possession and/or sale is 15; however, a commercial marine dealer may possess and sell more than 15 moi during the open season with receipts issued for the purchase.

Moi is the only fish in Hawai‘i belonging to the genus Polydactylus, which is Greek for “many fingers.” The “fingers” are actually six filaments extending from the base of each pectoral fin. It is also one of the relatively few Hawaiian fishes to undergo sex reversal, changing from male to female by the time it reaches about 10 inches in length.

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Copies of Hawai‘i’s fishing regulations are available at DLNR’s Aquatic Resources offices, most fishing supply stores, and online.

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