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The Hawaii Longline Fishery is a global leader in fisheries sustainability and comprehensive management

Hawaii longline vessels target bigeye tuna and North Pacific swordfish, producing over 90% and 50% of the US domestic supply bigeye and swordfish, respectively. Both target species populations that are not experiencing overfishing or are in an overfished condition. According to the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. wild-caught Pacific bigeye tuna and North Pacific swordfish is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. For more information, on the management and stock status of bigeye, swordfish, and other species caught by the Hawaii longline fishery, refer to NOAA Fisheries Fishwatch: Bigeye tuna and swordfish are highly migratory species fished by multiple nations, thus effective management requires international cooperation. Catches of tuna and billfish by Hawaii longline vessels represent only fractional percentages of total stock wide catch of these species in the Pacific. HLA regularly participates in international management organizations such as the WCPFC and IATTC to ensure effective conservation and management measures and to represent HLA interests.

Hawaii longline vessels have been subject to independent observer coverage since the early 1990s. Currently, the deep set fishery is subject to 20% coverage and the shallow-set fishery is subject to 100% observer coverage. Around 20 vessels also voluntarily use on-board video monitoring systems.

The Hawaii longline fleet is a global leader in the development and implementation of mitigation measures for sea turtles, seabirds, marine mammals, and sharks. Measures include: gear and bait requirements, handling and release procedures, and spatial management.

HLA vessels participate in a wide range of cooperative research activities including satellite vessel monitoring, sea turtle, seabird, and false killer whale mitigation, target and non-target species tagging, longline gear modifications, time-area catch monitoring, .

Current projects include:

  • Seabird tori line development and minimum standards

  • Shark tagging to better estimate post-release survivability

  • Shallow-set sea turtle avoidance program

  • Electronic video monitoring and machine learning development

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