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Fishing ban lifted on the Deep 7


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POSTED: Thursday, August 27, 2009

A fishing ban for seven of the most commonly caught deep bottomfish around the main Hawaiian Islands will be lifted Tuesday.

Known as the Deep 7, they include onaga or ulaula koae (long-tail snapper), opakapaka (pink snapper), ehu (red snapper), hapuupuu (sea bass), lehi (silver jaw jobfish), gindai (snapper) and kalekale (snapper).

“;Our customers will be very happy,”; said Cyrus Tamashiro, president of Tamashiro Market, which sells fresh fish in Palama.

“;We sell a lot of bottomfish,”; he said. “;Fortunately, during the summer when the season was closed, other species were bountiful. That made up for the lack of Deep 7.”;

The store didn't need to import bottomfish with the availability of other fish, such as cultured moi and pelagic or migratory species.

“;It's a welcome opening of another season for us,”; Tamashiro said.

The fishing season will operate under the mode of “;total allowable catch”; with a limit of 254,050 pounds for commercial fishermen. The fishing season for both commercial and non-commercial fishermen will end when the total allowable catch is reached or on Aug. 31, 2010, whichever is sooner.

“;It may take us to the summer,”; said Mark Mitsuyasu, program officer at the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. “;We'll see. Depends on how other fishing goes, too.”;

The 2008-09 fishing season opened in November and closed July 6 when the total allowable catch of 241,000 pounds was reached. The fishing area is from shore to 200 miles out to sea.

Three or four years ago, the Deep 7 were considered overfished.

“;Right now the resource is not overfished or experiencing overfishing,”; Mitsuyasu said. “;We hope we're making progress in that sense.”;

When fishing in federal waters, non-commercial fishermen still need a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service and must report their catch. Bag limits for non-commercial fishermen for the Deep 7 bottomfish are five in federal waters and seven in state waters per person per trip.

For more information on the regulations, call NMFS at 944-2200; Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, (808) 587-0100; or the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, 522-8220.