Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)
In Hawaii, “Ahi” refers to two species, the Bigeye Tuna and the Yellowfin Tuna. Yellowfin Tuna are caught year-round in Hawaiʻi’s waters but are most abundant during the summer season (May-September). Yellowfin have a slimmer profile than the bigeye tuna and have distinctive bright yellow finlets and soft dorsal and anal fins that tend to lengthen with age. Large fish (over 100 pounds) are usually caught in deep open ocean waters and are preferred for their typically higher fat content and greater yields. Most of Hawaiʻi’s Yellowfin Tuna are caught by deep-set longline fishing gear off shore of Hawaiʻi. The remainder of Hawaiʻi landings come from trollers, handliners and pole & line boats (aku boats). Learn More
Ono (Acanthocybium solandri)
Ono or wahoo is a close relative of the king mackerel. Built like a torpedo, they are fast swimmers. Ono are most available in Hawaiʻi during the summer and fall (May-October). Ono may grow to more than 100 pounds in weight, but the usual size of the fish caught in Hawaiʻi is 8 to 30 pounds. Hawaiian ono are line-caught with the majority of catch attributed to longline boats and some trollers using lures and baits. European explorers who first mapped the Hawaiian Islands found ono to be plentiful off the island of Oʻahu. Maps of the time indicate that a very common spelling of the word “Oahu” was “Wahoo,” and this is believed to be the origin of the fish’s other name. Learn More
Opakapaka (Pristipomoides filamentosus; Pink Snapper)
Opakapaka, also known as Hawaiian pink snapper, is found at depths between 180 and 600 feet. Opakapaka has a clear, light pink flesh with a delicate flavor that has earned it the reputation as Hawaiʻi’s premium snapper. Caught year-round in the Hawaiian Islands, there is a distinct peak in landings during the winter season (October-February), particularly in the fishery around the main Hawaiian Islands. Fish caught during the winter months tend to have a higher fat content than those caught in the summer, and opakapaka yields the best sashimi during the winter. Opakapaka range in size from 1 to 18 pounds. It grows larger in the Hawaiian Islands than anywhere else in the South Pacific. Opakapaka are harvested exclusively with vertical hook-and-line gear. Learn More.
Onaga (Etelis coruscans; Long-Tail Red Snapper)
Onaga is one of Hawaii’s fish better known by its Japanese name than by its Hawaiian name: ʻula ʻula koaʻe. This fish is also referred to as ruby or scarlet snapper, due to it’s brilliant red color. Onaga have a unique profile with distinctive caudal fins that end in long, slender points. Onaga is harvested mainly during the fall and winter months (October to March), when demand (and prices) for red-colored snappers among Hawaiʻi’s Japanese population is at its peak. Fish caught during the winter months seem to have a higher fat content than those caught in the summer; hence Onaga yield the best sashimi during the winter season. Harvested exclusively with vertical hook-and-line gear, this bottomfish is caught in deep waters at 600-1000 feet. Learn More.
Mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus)
The Hawaiian name Mahimahi has become the common name for what is also referred to as the common dolphinfish in the U.S. Hawaiʻi’s Mahimahi is a highly-regarded product which is best eaten when fresh. Local Mahimahi is superior in quality to fresh substitutes from Latin America and imported frozen fillets from Taiwan and Latin America. The supply of locally caught Mahimahi is limited and seasonal considering the high demand for this species. Commercial Mahimahi landings in Hawaii are made by trollers and longliners. Although available most of the year, mahimahi catches in Hawaii usually peak in March-May and September-November. Learn More.
Opah (Lampris regius; Moonfish)
Opah or moonfish is one of the most colorful of the commercial fish species available in Hawaii. A silvery-grey upper body color shades to a rose red dotted with white spots toward the belly. Its fins are crimson, and its large eyes are encircled with gold. The moonfish’s large, round profile may be the origin of its name. Opah have three types of flesh, each a different color. Behind the head and along the backbone is an attractive orange colored flesh. Toward the belly, the flesh pales to a pink color. The fish’s cheeks yield dark red flesh. These types of flesh all cook to a white color. Opah landed in Hawaii range from 60 to over 200 pounds in weight. A pelagic wandering species, it is often found in the company of tunas and billfish. All of the opah landed in Hawaii are caught by longlining. Almost all opah sold in the U.S. market are from Hawaii. Opah are caught year-round in Hawaiʻi, but landings seem to peak in April-August. Learn More.
Monchong (Taractichthys steindachneri)
Two species of pomfret, also known as monchong in Hawaii are harvested in small quantities by the longline and bottomfish handline fisheries. The predominant species is the sickle pomfret, distinguished by the forked shape of its fins and large scales. Monchong are landed and marketed fresh, sold at the Honolulu fish auction. Restaurants are the primary customers for monchong in Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. All Hawaii monchong are line-caught. Longline boats harvest most of the monchong catch in Hawaii. However, some monchong are also caught by deepwater handline gear with power reels. Learn More.
This October, join the Hawaii Seafood Council and Conservation International in celebrating Hawaiʻi Seafood Month, a month long event highlighting Hawai'i seafood and the fishers, restaurants, retailers, and seafood businesses committed to sustainable, local seafood and vibrant fishing communities across our paeʻaina.