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CATCH AND EFFORT FROM HAWAII'S LONGLINE FISHERY SUMMARIZED BY QUARTERS AND FIVE DEGREE SQUARES

Daniel Curran
Christofer Boggs
Xi He

ABSTRACT

This report provides quarterly and yearly summaries of Hawaii's pelagic longline catch (numbers of fish) and effort (hooks) reported by five-degree (latitude by longitude) squares based on the National Marine Fisheries Service longline logbook prog ram. Species summarized include albacore (Thunnus alalunga), bigeye tuna (T. obesus), yellowfin tuna (T. albacares), striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax), blue marlin (Makaira mazara), black marlin (M. indica), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), mahimahi (Corypha ena hippurus), and wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri). Estimates of catch by weight were derived from a combination of logbook data and commercial catch reports. Hawaii's longline fishery has grown dramatically since 1985 and represents the bulk of the U.S. longline fishery in the Pacific. As a result of this expansion, a federal regulation was enacted in 1990 requiring longline vessels fishing, transhipping, or landing fish in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to submit logbooks. This has resulted in a comprehensive source of information on the domestic fishery both within and beyond the EEZ. Data summarized here by quarter reflect the seasonal pattern of fishing. Variation of effort was highly seasonal, but showed little interannual change for t he four years summarized. Effort was lowest during the third quarter of all years and tended to peak in the second quarter. Yearly summaries provide insight into large-scale trends. Swordfish catch peaked from 1991 to 1993, but dropped in 1994. Yellowf in tuna catch fluctuated over the four years, but bigeye tuna catch increased yearly with a third quarter peak of over 20,000 fish in 1994. Species identification and numbers are provided by the fishermen themselves, and no independent verification of lo gbook entries has been attempted.


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