The public will have a chance to ask questions about the upcoming seasonal closure of Hawai‘i’s bottomfish fishery at a public informational meeting Saturday.
A series of statewide meetings is being coordinated by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources, in conjunction with the National Marine Fisheries Services’ Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and Pacific Islands Regional Office.
The Kaua‘i meeting will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Lihu‘e.
The new regulations mean that from May 1 through Sept. 30, waters up to 200 nautical miles around the main Hawaiian Islands will be closed to fishing for deepwater bottomfish, including onaga, ehu, gindai, kalekale, opakapaka, lehi and hapu‘upu‘u .
Fisheries officials state in a press release that the emergency closure is necessary to end overfishing for these species while a long-term management program is implemented. Because the regulations affect both state and federal waters, they are being implemented through a combination of state and federal rulemaking, the release states.
Resource scientists and managers will be at the meeting to answer questions on the new regulations and to gather public opinion regarding the long-term management of Hawai’i’s bottomfish fishery. A FAQ sheet on the long-term timeline can be found at www.wpcouncil.org.
For more information, interested persons can contact the council at (808) 522-8220, info.wpcouncil@noaagov or log onto www.wpcouncil.