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Undersized papio land fisherman fine

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A fisherman was fined $205 for catching six undersized papio with a handline in the Diamond Head area last September.

Environmental Court Judge Linda Luke in Honolulu District Court imposed the fine on Konsida Pelep on July 8, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources reported.

State conservation officer in September inspecting Pelep’s catch found six undersized papio, or juvenile-phase ulua. The largest of Pelep’s six fish measured nine inches, weighing less than two pounds.

It is illegal to take papio/ulua under 10 inches. Commercial sale of papio/ulua under 16 inches is also prohibited.

Violation of the papio/ulua size limit regulations is a petty misdemeanor and violators are subject to fines of up to $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail. A first offense carries a minimum fine of $100.

“Papio are an important species to recreational, commercial and subsistence fishers,” said Jason Redulla, acting Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Chief. “While they’re very resilient to fishing pressure as a species, we can’t have a sustainable fishery if they aren’t allowed to reach spawning size,” Redulla added.

“Fishers and divers have the unique ability to positively impact resources by being selective with what they take. When compliance rates are high, size limit regulations have resulted in more abundant fisheries, so we encourage the public to take only fish that are above the legal limit.”

Information resources on state fisheries rules and regulations can be found at fishing supply stores, online at or at the Division of Aquatic Resources offices on each island via phone.

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  • If Hawaii had a Non-commercial / Recreational Saltwater fishing License… then when you buy your fishing license you get a copy of the fish and game rules. (No more “I didn’t know the rules”) If people had to chip in $5 a year to fish, they would be more aware of the condition and health of the resource and how it’s being managed. ( “Hay, I spent my $5 for a license, how come DLNR no more enforcement… how come no more fish?” ) We would also finally find out exactly how many people go fishing. The state has no idea how many fishermen there are in Hawaii. Every time we go to the legislature to get money for enforcement, harbor improvements, fish stocking, or habitat enhancement… the legislators ask us how many people go fishing… Well, if we had a saltwater fishing license we could translate that number into VOTES. Also that $5 for a fishing license could be used to improve fishing and enforcement. A study on the mainland found that 1 of every 3 people went fishing at least once a year. Hawaii has to have more fishermen than the mainland. Interest follows money… if you’ve invested in your fishing, you’ll take better care of the resource.

    • @stanislous – Well said!

      I hope enforcement took all his belongings. SHAME catching undersized. There must have been a school out there and he could have released and waited to hook the legal size fish. Post his picture. Have a wall of shame.

  • OMG. One undersized is not astounding. All of them is ridiculous. I guess he’s used to the pathetic enforcement we had, until now, I guess.

  • I used to be a regular shoreline fisherman on the Big Island. I did not know the rules and probably most of those who fish also. Most kept all the the Papio under 10 inches. I threw them back under 7 inches.

    Where do the inches start. I would think from the front to the beginning of the tail?

    There should be more enforcement. Most fishermen will keep them under 10 inches. Now I know better.

  • 10″ is even too small and 40″ is too big. In Kaneohe Bay there are only a few large Ulua left and they should be protected also. By coconut island are a few where fishing is forbidden . A little while after they spawn there are a few papio in the bay and fishermen run to get their poles to exterminate those too. Very imbecile management, when there could be thousands there are just a few to catch.

    • US fishery management is pretty dumb overall. We allow taking of larger sizes, and in some cases no limit on those larger sizes but protect smaller sizes. What this does, is introduce artificial selection for smaller fish. Obviously, this is pretty dumb.

      What we should be doing, is allowing the taking on a portion of all sizes up to a certain size which becomes off limits to take period. A permanent kapu on large sizes. Larger fish reproduce more often and in large amounts. Our fishery management style is from the 50s and 60s and doesn’t reflect actual science.

    • Exactly. You can make all the laws you want, with limitations on size, quantity, how you catch them, and anything else you can come up with, but without enforcement, you will not have conformance.

  • Is this the first fine that’s been imposed here that’s newsworthy? Every experienced fisherman here knows our enforcement laws are a joke. It’s long overdue that Hawaii have some kind of fishing license program to fund fisheries managment. We are the only state that doesn’t and have the worse enforcement of our laws as a result.

    • An-alphabets from god knows where are fishing here. There needs to be an exam to get a license to fish, renewed annually and nobody without license allowed.

  • Good article and lots of interest!! Size does matter both for the potential of many eggs for replenishment and for letting the pua just grow to the reproductive age/size. The whole rule book should be restructured so that no fish are caught that are not of reproductive age/size. I cringe when I see buckets of 4 inch oama being hauled off. As the reef dies off and there become fewer and fewer of the things we like to eat what will be do? We all want a healthy ocean with lots of life but/and then we revert to some time in the past when things were different than they are today. Marine Life Conservation Districts are very successful in regeneration and spill over. They are also great economic engines and learning opportunities where hopeful things can come into balance. No take zones have worked very well in the South pacific where many really do need to harvest in sustainable ways.

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