ʻŌpelu (Decaperus spp.; Mackerel Scad)
‘Ōpelu, or mackerel scad, is a common tropical fish found around the world in large schools either inshore or in the open ocean. In Hawai‘i, this fish traditionally was a staple food for many people and continues to be an important source of food for many local residents. ‘Ōpelu are often used as bait to catch larger fish such as marlin and tuna. In traditional times, ‘ōpelu fishing was restricted from March through July during its spawning period. In Hawaiʻi, ʻopelu are harvested using one of two methods: The traditional "hoop net" method involves fishers using vegetable based "palu" or feed to attract fish into schools which are then surrounded and captured using a hoop net from canoes; or artisanal hook-and-line methods in which fishers use a pole and line with live bait scattered into the water. Learn More.
Hawaiian mud crabs, or Samoan crabs are widely distributed through the Indo-Pacific region and around the Indian Pacific Ocea to east Africa. They are also found in Hawaii. People brought the these crabs to Hawaii in 1926. From then until 1935, commercial fishery hopefuls released 98 crabs on Oahu, Hawaii island and Molokai. With females producing 2 million eggs at a time, and releasing them offshore, it didn't take long for the crabs to get around. They are now found on all the main islands.
Samoan crabs are easily recognized by their broadly flattened back legs with paddle-like last segments. They have a smooth carapace with very robust claws, and is deep green in color. Learn More.
Kona Kampachi (Seriola rivoliana)
Kona Kampachi is an aqua-cultured (farmed) product raised off-shore of the Kona coast of Hawaiʻi Island. This succulent, sashimi-grade version of Hawaiian yellowtail boasts high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, is free from internal parasites, has no detectable levels of mercury or PCBs and is environmentally sustainable. While genetically identical to wild Kahala or Amberjack, farmed Kampachi is a unique, high-quality seafood product that has gained popularity among chefs and restaurants nationwide. Kampachi can be prepared raw or cooked. Kampachi is marketed by Kona Cold Lobsters operating out of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Learn More.
Opah (Lampris regius; Moonfish)
Opah or moonfish is one of the most colorful of the commercial fish species available in Hawaiʻi. 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 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 Hawaiʻi are caught by longlining. and Opah sold in U.S. markets are almost exclusively from Hawaiʻi. Learn More.
Ama Ebi (Heterocarpus Laevigatus)
Amaebi (Heterocarpus laevigatus), or smooth nylon shrimp, is a large, deep-sea shrimp in tropical waters. The shrimp are caught in water 1,200 to 2,000 feet deep, on the underwater slopes around the island, and on pinnacles and seamounts that rise from the deep ocean to those depths. They are typically caught using overnight deep-sea traps and fishing vessels can set as many as 50 baited shrimp traps in the evening. This shrimp is prized for its sweet taste and is often sought after for Japanese sushi.
Spawning is year round with a seasonal peak between Oct and January - over 50% of females have eggs. Size at maturity for females is 40mm carapace length.
Heʻe (Octopus cyanea; Tako, Day Octopus)
Heʻe or Hawaiian octopus are a popular food item highly sought after by local fishermen who catch them by hand or using spears. Early Hawaiians also relished octopus and captured them either by spearing or by using lures made of a large cowry shell lashed onto a hook. In Hawai‘i, there are two common species of octopus: the “day octopus”, called he‘e, is a small, brown and tan mottled octopus that is found on shallow reef flats and down the reef slope to depths of 150 feet (45 m); and the “night octopus” or he‘e-mākoko, a rusty red animal with white spots on the body and arms. As its name implies, this species is nocturnal, hunting for food at night and sheltering by day. This species was rarely eaten, but may have been used in medicine. Both octopus species feed on crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, crabs) and molluscs (primarily cowry snails). Their dens are often recognized by the pile of broken crab and snail shells (remnants of past meals) found just outside the entrance. 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.