Hawaii Fishing History

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History of commercial fishing in Hawaii
Shortly after Statehood, a U.S. De­partment of Interior, Bureau of Com­mercial Fisheries proposal labeled the Hawaii fishery as "dying". Hawaii's major commercial fisheries had been dominated by traditional prac­tices that reflected Hawaii's Japanese immigrant heritage and its impact on the local fishery and seafood markets. The predominant commercial fishery was aku (skipjack tuna), which was caught by a live-bait, pole-and-line, wooden sampan fleet, known as aku boats, and which was landed primarily for canning. In 1960, over 60% of Hawaii's total recorded com­mercial fishery landings (by weight) was aku, and the percentage remained over 50% until 1970. By the mid-1970's the number of aku boats and …show more content…

The seafood market is probably worth over $100 million (including imported seafood), there is a $10-15 million char­ter boat industry, probably an equiva­lently valued tournament fishery, and there is a recreational and subsistence marine fishery with direct expenditures of $24 million. The estimate of the Hawaii seafood market supply in 1990, is 20 million pounds ($50 million) from commercial fishing, 9 million pounds from recreational fishing, 15 million pounds ($30 mil­lion) from foreign imports, 24 million pounds ($45 million) from the main­land U.S., and 3.5 million pounds ($10 million) exported. There are many elements to these recent changes in Hawaii's seafood in­dustry. Perhaps the first harbinger of change was the arrival of albacore troll­ers from the west coast en route to newly discovered fishing grounds north of Midway Islands late in the 1970's. This caused a new perspective on the nature of Hawaii's role in the Pacific­ wide fishery and led to some substan­tial changes on the Honolulu water­front. Not the least of these changes was the technological demonstration effect of the mere presence of these distant-water, highly mobile vessels. In 1985, there were 75 albacore troll­ers in the U.S. North Pacific fishery …show more content…

Whereas many mainland U.S. fisheries are "in­dustrial-strength" with poor reputations for quality, low fresh fish prices, and poor incomes for fishermen, in Hawaii the combination of auctions and direct purchases from outside sources has meant a consistently high-quality prod­uct. However, fresh fish prices have risen considerably since 1970, even adjusted for the general rate of con­sumer price inflation. This has been prompted by the explosion of restaurant demand, where fresh mahimahi can be found on local res­taurant menus from Moiliili to Kaanapali, and on the U.S. mainland from Seattle to Des Moines to Boston. For local consumers, the loss of the aku (skipjack tuna) fleet has produced higher retail prices for fresh tuna. The NOAA analysis of the price structure of Ha­waii fresh fish prices indicates that the market provides strong quality premiums and is thus a competitive forum for most major fishery producers. However, as the export market develops from the sashimi "niche" to the swordfish "seg­ment," transshipping operations are in­creasing. This reduces the "local content" of Hawaii's fishery landings, at some

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