Bottomfishing Season Opens Today
By Sonia Isotov
Today, the state marine waters are officially re-opened for the 2011-2012 bottomfish fishing year, although there are still 12 bottomfish restricted fishing areas still remain in effect.
The fishing year was closed earlier this year on March 12, 2011 and remained closed through August 31, 2011. Seven bottomfish species were affected by this closure: onaga, ehu, opakapaka, kalekale, gindai, lehi, and the hapu‘upu‘u.
The bottomfish fishery will close when the 2011-2012 commercial landings reach the annual catch target (ACT) limit, or on August 31, 2012 when the fishing year ends, whichever comes first. The federally established ACT for the new fishing year is 325,000 pounds of Deep-7 bottomfish. The ACT is monitored through commercial landings.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources also wanted to remind the public that when the new fishing year opens on September 1, 2011, the state’s 12 bottomfish restricted fishing areas or BRFAs will continue to remain closed to bottomfish fishing. Fishers are advised to consult the department’s website for the locations of the twelve restricted fishing areas.
For all of the rules — both existing and amended — that are in force for bottomfish and bottomfishing and the locations of the 12 restricted fishing areas, go to: http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/fishing_bottom.html.
Commercial fishermen who have questions about their catch reports may call the Division of Aquatic Resources at (808) 587-0594. For more information about federal regulations or permits, contact the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) at (808) 944-2200, or the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WESPAC) at (808) 522-8220.