The Hawaii-based Longline Logbook Summary Report, January-December 2014

This annual report summarizes data on fish catch and fishing effort by Hawaii-based longline vessels for calendar year 2014. Results are based on the date gear was hauled, as reported by vessel operators to the National Marine Fisheries Service in federal logbooks of daily fishing activity. A logbook is submitted at the end of each longline fishing trip. The report covers longline operations for fishing trips completed in 2014 and most, but not all, data from trips that began late in the fourth quarter of 2014 and continued into the first quarter of 2015. Therefore, the 2014 summary statistics reported here are preliminary.

During 2014, 140 vessels were active in the Hawaii-based fleet, five more vessels than 2013 (Table 1, Fig. 1); participation in the fishery has slowly increased from 2010. Longline fishing occurred year-around, with 1,431 trips contributing to fishing activity in 2014 (10 less than in 2013). For each trip, NMFS assigned a trip type designation (tuna-targeted trip or swordfish-targeted trip) based on information in the logbook, including the fisher’s specification of target species and other factors. In 2014 there were 1,350 tuna-targeted trips (using deep-set gear to target tuna, down 33 trips from 2013) and 81 swordfish-targeted trips (using shallow-set gear to target swordfish, up 23 trips) (Table 1, Fig. 2).

The Hawaii-based longline fishery deployed 47.1 million hooks in 2014, down 0.9 million hooks from 2013 (Table 1, Fig. 3). The number of hooks has been on an increasing trend from 1994. A growing number of hooks are being set outside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with this area comprising 75% of the total hooks set in 2014. The remainder were deployed in the main Hawaiian Islands EEZ (18%), Northwestern Hawaiian Islands EEZ (5%), and in the EEZ of the Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA, consisting of U.S. possessions Wake Island, Jarvis Island, Howland Island, Baker Island, Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, and Johnston Atoll) (2%).

In 2014, the Hawaii longline fleet (all trip types combined) caught a record 216,897 bigeye tuna (Table 1, Fig. 4), 12% more than in 2013. The trend of bigeye tuna catch has been upward since the first year of logbook monitoring in 1991. The albacore catch decreased to record low 9,009 fish in 2014; down 40% from 2013 and well below the record catch in 1997. The catch of yellowfin tuna also decreased by 11% in 2014 to 17,206 fish. Both albacore and yellowfin tuna catches decreased during the past four years.

The 2014 swordfish catch was 20,012 fish (Table 1, Fig. 5); 33% higher than the 2013 catch. The catch of striped marlin was 15,172 fish in 2014, a 17% increase compared to 2013. The catch of blue marlin in 2014 was 5,770 fish, up 44% from 2013. Although the swordfish catch increased in 2014, it has been on a downward trend since 2007. Overall catches of striped marlin and blue marlin have varied substantially over the 24-year period of logbook collection; the 2014 catches were close to their respective long-term averages.

In 2014, the Hawaii longline fleet caught 85,067 sharks and kept less than 1% of them (Table 1, Fig. 6). Blue shark comprised 80% of the total shark catch (66,343 fish). The fleet also caught 4,142 mako sharks and a record 13,188 thresher sharks. Catches of mako and thresher sharks have trended upward, whereas those of blue shark have been relatively steady during the last twelve years (Fig. 6).

In 2014, the Hawaii longline catch of other key pelagic management unit species included 74,788 mahimahi and 31,174 oilfish, and record catches of pomfret (82,227 fish), moonfish (25,734 fish), and wahoo (23,074) (Table 1, Fig. 7).

The longline logbook statistics reported above refer to all fishing areas combined. Summary catch and effort for 2014 were also compiled by several geographical sub-areas including: the MHI EEZ; the NWHI EEZ; the PRIA EEZ; the combined EEZ of MHI, NWHI and PRIA; and waters outside the U.S. EEZ. These statistics are presented in Tables 2-6. Summary statistics for the entire fishing area in 2014 are also presented for each distinct trip type: swordfish-targeted trips (Table 7) and tuna-targeted trips (Table 8).

This website also provides a PDF version of the report [download report (0.6 MB PDF)] and online charts and tables of non-confidential Hawaii longline logbook fish catch and fishing effort from 1991 to the present. Statistics in the online graphs and tables are updated periodically as new records are added to the database and corrections are made.