Opakapaka is considered an ocean-friendly seafood choice because the fishery is carefully managed, stocks are healthy, and the fishing gear used does not cause significant habitat destruction.

Also known as:

Crimson snapper, Hawaiian pink snapper

Availability:

Fresh October-February; frozen year-round

Product forms:

Opakapaka is generally sold in fillet form, fresh or frozen

Shopping tips:

Coming soon

Substitutions:

Try using opakapaka instead of any snapper species, including red snapper.

Recipes:

Coming soon

Harvest method : Opakapaka is caught using baited hooks that are deployed vertically in the water; there is very little bycatch and very little impact on the ocean floor. more

Conservation notes:

Of the two main areas where opakapaka is fished in the Hawaiian Islands, NW Hawaiian Islands populations are in better shape. more
Last updated: August 2009

Harvest Method

Opakapaka is harvested using vertical hook-and-line gear.

Harvest Location

The opakapaka fishery in the Hawaiian Islands is rich in cultural and historical significance. Unfortunately, its popularity has led to intense fishing pressure and a subsequent population declines in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). However, populations in the NW Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) remain healthy and effective management measures are in place to ensure this trend continues. Present-day fishing methods (where baited hooks are deployed vertically in the water column) are similar to traditional methods and produce very little impact on ocean floor habitats.

Fishery Management

Many types of commercial fishing gear can cause significant habitat destruction, or may catch large numbers of unwanted fishes and other animals (bycatch). The vertical hook and line gear used to catch opakapaka is fairly selective (meaning bycatch rates are relatively low), and bycatch can often be returned to the water alive. Vertical hook-and-line gear does not constantly contact or drag along the ocean floor, thus limiting the amount of impact on sensitive seafloor habitats.

Conservation Notes

Currently, of the two main areas where opakapaka is fished in the Hawaiian Islands, NWHI populations are in better shape. Fishing pressure in this area is somewhat less intense than in the MHI which likely contributes to more robust populations and fish managers have implemented measures such as area closures, gear restrictions, and quotas to ensure populations continue to remain healthy. Scientists assessing the fishery in the MHI have seen encouraging signs that management measures put in place are working and may put an end to years of overfishing. However, the resource in the MHI currently remains depleted and thus, when asking for opakapaka, be sure to specify fish from the NW Hawaiian Islands.