Annual closure of ‘ama’ama season

HONOLULU — ‘Ama‘ama (striped mullet) will be off-limits from December through March, as it’s spawning season for the popualar nearshore fish in Hawaii.

“‘Ama‘ama are about to enter their peak spawing season, which increases their vulnerability to fishing pressure,” said Brude Anderson, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources administrator. “The annual winter closure is designed to help the fish reproduce successfully and protect the species from overfishing.”

‘Ama‘ama was one of the most important fish species in traditional Hawaiian culture, according to DLNR. Young fish were caught in nets along the shoreline, then raised in the many fishponds throughout the islands. After being fattened in the fishponds, they were harvested and eaten raw with seaweed added, or wrapped in ti or ginger leaves and broiled or baked.

There are three species of mullet in Hawaiian waters, but the closed season applies only to the striped mullet ‘ama‘ama. There are no regulations pertaining to the other two species: uouoa (sharp-nose mullet), which is native, and kanda (summer or Marquesan mullet), which is introduced.

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