Press Release – Hawai‘i Longline Fishery Sees Revenue Decline in 2023 Due to Drop in Fish Prices at Honolulu Fish Auction (7 June 2024)

News and Updates, Press Releases

HONOLULU (7 June 2024) A report prepared for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council highlights a nearly 8% decline in revenue for the Hawai‘i longline fishery due to a drop in average fish prices at the first point of landing in Honolulu Harbor. The 2023 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report, which monitors fish catch and revenue, will be presented to scientists and advisors of the Council’s 152nd Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) meeting from June 11-13, 2024, for advice on shaping the future of fisheries management in the Western Pacific Region.

The report indicates that while the Hawai‘i longline fishery landed slightly more fish in 2023, greater yields did not lead to higher revenue. Industry representatives confirmed better catch rates towards the end of 2023, but overall it was a very tough year for the fleet. It was further noted that the volume and price of subsidized foreign imports, coupled with all-time high operational costs, are causing severe economic impacts on the fleet, which is the State’s largest food producer. The Hawai‘i longline fleet consists of 150 U.S.-flagged vessels operating out of Honolulu Harbor. The SSC will discuss this information to provide scientific advice on management of this fishery.

Electronic monitoring is in the planning stages for tracking protected species interactions with the Hawai‘i longline fisheries. SSC discussions will address delays due to funding shortfalls, the reduction in human observer coverage and potential pathways for phasing in electronic monitoring to meet regulatory obligations.

The SSC will also advise the Council on catch limits for the main Hawaiian Islands deep-seven bottomfish fishery. The 2023 report showed recent bottomfish catch has been well-below current limits, and the fishery is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing. A new stock assessment will help the SSC quantify the risk of overfishing and uncertainty.

A recent national focus on climate change and environmental justice requires the Council to look at ways to manage fisheries for resiliency. To support this effort, the SSC will review revisions and suggestions from various advisory groups on research priorities that promote climate change resiliency, equity and environmental justice, and regulatory efficiency in fisheries management.

The SSC meeting is open for both in-person and remote participation via web conference. Attendees can access the full agenda, background documents and instructions for connecting to the meeting and providing oral public comments at www.wpcouncil.org/event/152ssc-meeting.

Recommendations made by the SSC on these and other matters will be considered by the Council when it meets June 24-26 at the Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom in Honolulu. Instructions on connecting to the web conference, agendas and briefing documents are posted at www.wpcouncil.org/event/199th-council-meeting.

Scientific and Statistical Committee: James Lynch (chair); Jason Biggs (Guam Div. of Aquatic & Wildlife Resources); Debra Cabrera (University of Guam); Frank Camacho (University of Guam); Milani Chaloupka (University of Queensland); Erik Franklin (University of Hawai‘i, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology); Shelton Harley (Fisheries New Zealand); Jason Helyer (Hawai‘i Div. of Aquatic Resources); Ray Hilborn (University of Washington); Justin Hospital (National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center); Dave Itano (Fisheries Consultant); Donald Kobayashi (NMFS PIFSC); Steve Martell (Sea State Inc.); Domingo Ochavillo (American Samoa Dept. of Marine & Wildlife Resources); Graham Pilling (The Pacific Community); Craig Severance (University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, retired); Francisco Villagomez (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Div. of Fish & Wildlife); Charles Littnan (ex-officio) (NMFS PIFSC).

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Secretary of Commerce appointees from nominees selected by American Samoa, the CNMI, Guam and Hawai‘i governors: Will Sword, noncommercial fisherman/engineer (American Samoa) (chair); Roger Dang, Fresh Island Fish Co. (Hawai‘i) (vice chair); Manny Dueñas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (vice chair); Judith Guthertz, University of Guam (Guam); Pete Itibus, noncommercial fisher (CNMI); Shaelene Kamaka‘ala, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (Hawai‘i); Matt Ramsey, Conservation International (Hawai‘i); and Gene Weaver, CNMI Judiciary (CNMI). Designated state officials: Dawn Chang, Hawai‘i Dept. of Land & Natural Resources; Sylvan Igisomar, CNMI Dept. of Lands & Natural Resources (vice chair); Chelsa Muña, Guam Dept. of Agriculture; and Archie Soliai, American Samoa Dept. of Marine & Wildlife Resources (vice chair). Designated federal officials (voting): Sarah Malloy (acting), NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office. Designated federal officials (nonvoting): Colin Brinkman, U.S. State Dept.; Brian Peck, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and RADM Michael Day, U.S. Coast Guard 14th District.

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