While there is an abundance of different species to be found when Hawaii saltwater fishing, there are also tons of regulations regarding sizes, seasons, and limits on many of them due to preservation efforts and environmental protection requirements. So before you head out to the open waters around Hawaii, fishing regulations should be thoroughly researched and noted so that you don’t end up in violation.
One of the main things to know about fishing in Hawaii is that certain species are limited by season. For example the striped mullet (also known to Hawaiians as ‘Ama’ama) is limited by season, with fishing for the species closed from December through the month of March. The Moi is also limited by season, though Hawaii saltwater fishing for Moi is closed through the summer, from June through August.
The Akule and Halalu are both regulated by season according to size. From July through October, it is unlawful to take these species with a net if they are less than 8 1/2 inches, and otherwise illegal to possess or sell more than 200 pounds of the fish per day under the same size.
In other words, Akule and Halalu under 8 1/2 inches in length are best thrown back. Be very careful not to accidentally hook any sea turtles (Honu) or Hawaiian monk seals (’Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua), as both of these creatures are endangered and carefully protected by the environmental agencies.
Other fishing is regulated according to size or quantities. Here is a list of several species and their size requirements for keep that you can carry along to make sure you are not fishing illegally: Ahi (3 pounds minimum), Aholehole (5 inches minimum), ‘Ama’ama or striped mullet (11 inches minimum), Awa (9 inches minimum), Moi (11 inches minimum), ‘O’io (14 inches minimum), Uhu (12 inches minimum), Ulua (10 inches minimum), Papio (10 inches minimum), Weke and ‘Oama* (7 inches minimum), ‘Opelu kala (16 inches minimum), Manini (5 inches minimum) Opakapaka (1 pound minimum for sale purposes).
These are just a few of the major species that are regulated due to size; be sure you have a complete list prior to setting out for a fishing excursion, as penalties include hefty fines and more. You may also want to employ a guide for such an excursion that is more familiar with the laws of the land and can help you determine what is an appropriate catch and what is not.