Sociological Baseline of the Hawaii Longline Industry

The Hawaii-based longline fishing industry, which lands the vast majority of commercial fish in Hawaii, had been increasingly regulated in recent years. To date, limited information has been available regarding the socio-cultural impacts of these regulations and management.

Project researchers addressed this information gap by compiling a comprehensive social profile of the longline fishing industry of Hawaii and providing this information to decision-makers. The research was conducted by University of Hawaii JIMAR employees under University guidelines.

Project staff collected information about the fisher sector, including longline vessel owners, captains, and crew, using ethnographic methods and participant observation. The interviewer and interpreter/community liaison spent much time on the docks talking story with fishermen when they were available between fishing trips. The project reports and publications describe the sociocultural aspects of this group of fishermen demonstrating that, although they are the largest-scale commercial fishermen in Hawaii, there is far more to understanding the fleet than its vessels, gear, landings and revenues.

Vessel ownership is divided along ethnic lines; at the time of the study, roughly one-quarter of the vessels were operated by Korean-Americans while the remaining three-quarters were split between Vietnamese-American and Euro-American operators. The three ethnic groups tend to have different operational practices, attitudes toward regulations, and social networks, although differences within each ethnic group exist as well.


Allen SD
2007. The Importance of monitoring social impacts of fisheries regulations. Pelagic Fisheries Research Program Newsletter October-December 2007, p. 4-8.
Allen SD, Gough A
2007. Hawaii longline fishermen's experiences with the Observer Program. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-PIFSC-8. February 2007
Allen SD, Gough A
2007. Filipino crew community in the Hawaii-based longline industry: Issues, concerns, and opportunities. NAPA Bulletin 28, Fall, 2007
Allen SD, Gough A
2006. Monitoring environmental justice impacts: Vietnamese-American longline fishermen adapt to the Hawaii swordfish fishery closure. Human Organization, 65(3), Fall.
Allen SD, Gough A
2006. A Sociocultural assessment of Filipino crew members working in the Hawaii-based longline fleet. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-PIFSC-6 October 2006.
Allen SD, Gough A
2005. Yes, they eat the bait: Ethnic dynamics within the Hawaii longline fleet. Presentation at American Fisheries Society annual conference, Anchorage AK, Sept.15, 2005.