Hawaii, like every other state in the United States, is in charge of regulating most of its fishing laws that aren’t already covered under federal legislation. There are laws that affect both sport and commercial anglers, with these provisions applying to all areas of the state unless exemptions or modifications apply for specific management areas.
Here is a quick overview of some of these Hawaiian fishing laws that you should know before heading out on a fishing charter in Hawaii:
- Licenses: You do not need a fishing license for recreational saltwater fishing in the state, though you will need a freshwater game fishing license for taking certain types of freshwater fish.
- Regulated fishing areas: Each of the Hawaiian Islands has its own regulated fishing areas. These areas all have their own unique fishing periods. Some of them are open all year long, while others have specific seasons of which you must be aware. Some areas make it illegal for you to fish at all, while other areas have specific limitations for the type, number and size of fish you can take with you. Considering all of this, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules in the exact area you’ll be fishing in before you head out. If you’re going out on a fishing charter, the captain will know the rules for the area, but if you’re going it alone, then you’re going to do the research yourself.
- Regulated species: As previously mentioned, there are some species of fish in Hawaii that are regulated by the state government. These regulations generally restrict the size of the fish you can take, as well as the number. For example, with moano, the state sets a minimum size of seven inches, but in Maui the minimum size is eight inches. For lehi, there is no size limitation, but there is a bag limit of five.
- Other regulated vertebrates: Fish aren’t the only marine life in Hawaii that are protected by state legislation. Certain types of animals are subject to state and federal protection, and a failure to abide by those protections could result in significant fines or jail time. For example, there is no open season for sea turtles, an endangered species, and it is illegal to kill, capture, possess or molest Hawaiian monk seals at any time, as they too are endangered. These are just two examples of species in the area that must be left alone.
- Gear restrictions: There are a lot of gear restrictions affecting anglers in Hawaii that you should be aware of before hitting the waters. Many of these restrictions have to do with the kind of nets you use. All people are allowed to use hand nets or scoop nets made with smaller mesh to take in fish and marine life for recreational purposes, providing the net does not exceed three feet in any dimension. As the nets grow, there are more regulations that apply, but typically those will only be applicable for commercial fishers.
For more information about Hawaiian fishing laws, reach out to Sea Wife Charters today.