Ehu is the Hawaiian name of the short-tail red snapper that looks similar to its bottomfish cousin, the Onaga. Ehu, however, can be distinguished by a distinct yellow stripe running along the upper third of its body from head to tail. Ehu also have a much shorter tail than Onaga. Like many of the deep-sea snappers of Hawai‘i, Ehu live near underwater headlands and areas of high relief such as seamounts anywhere from 600 to 1,000 feet deep. They are one of the heavily managed “Deep Seven Bottomfish” of Hawai’I which also includes Opakapaka, Onaga, Kalekale, Lehi, Gindai, and Hapuʻupuʻu.
Ehu have a vivid scarlet color and a slender tail.The fish’s iris is usually a brilliant red as well. This long-lived species is the third most abundant bottomfish in Hawai’i. Though not as highly sought after as Onaga, Ehu can be easily substituted for Onaga in cooking.
Fishermen use rods and reels to catch six species of snapper and one species of grouper that are called “bottomfish” and nicknamed the “deep 7” because they live at the bottom of the sea around the Hawaiian archipelago. Each vessel has two to four weighted mainlines that are lowered and raised with reels to depths of 1,200 feet. Baited hooks branch off this mainline. This fishing method is similar to those traditionally used by native Hawaiians.