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Estimating Nearshore Coral Reef-Associated Fisheries Production From the Main Hawaiian Islands

April 16, 2018

This study estimates nearshore reef fish production for the main Hawaiian Islands at the island scale using commercial and non-commercial catch and characterizes the non-commercial fishery.

Currently, information on nearshore reef-associated fisheries is frequently disparate or incomplete, creating a challenge for effective management. This study utilized an existing non-commercial fishery dataset from Hawai`i, covering the period 2004±13, to estimate a variety of fundamental fishery parameters, including participation, effort, gear use, and catch per unit effort. We then used those data to reconstruct total catches per island. Noncommercial fisheries in this case comprise recreational, subsistence, and cultural harvest, which may be exchanged, but are not sold. By combining those data with reported commercial catch data, we estimated annual catch of nearshore reef-associated fisheries in the main Hawaiian Islands over the study period to be 1,167,758 ± 43,059 kg/year (mean ± standard error). Average annual commercial reef fish catch over the same time period—184,911 kg/year—was 16 percent of the total catch, but that proportion varied greatly among islands, ranging from 23 percent on O`ahu to 5 percent on Moloka`i. These results emphasize the importance of reef fishing in Hawai`i for reasons beyond commerce, such as food security and cultural practice, and highlight the large differences in fishing practices across the Hawaiian Islands.

McCoy KS, Williams ID, Friedlander AM, Ma H, Teneva L, Kittinger JNEstimating Nearshore Coral Reef-Associated Fisheries Production From the Main Hawaiian Islands. (Published in PLoS ONE). 

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 03/04/2024

Coral Reefs Reef Fishery Subsistence Fishing