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.
Bigeye Tuna (Thunnus obesus)
In Hawaii, “Ahi” refers to two species, the Bigeye Tuna and the Yellowfin Tuna. Similar in general appearance, the Bigeye may be recognized by its plump body, its larger head and its unusually large eyes. Caught in deeper, cooler water, Bigeye Tuna typically has a higher fat content than Yellowfin and is preferred by sashimi lovers. The majority of Hawaiʻi’s bigeye tuna are caught by deep-set longline fishing gear off shore of Hawaiʻi. The remainder of Hawaiian Bigeye Tuna landings come from handliners and trollers. Peak Bigeye landings occur from October through April. 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.
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.