Hawaii Longliners Producing Highly Monitored, Sustainable Swordfish in First Season since MSC Certification
News Release from Hawaii Longline Association
March 6, 2023 – HONOLULU – The Hawaii longline fleet swordfish season is in full swing. This is the first season since the fishery was certified sustainable by the globally recognized Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Swordfish landed by the Hawaii longline fleet is a fresh, extremely tasty, sustainable seafood option that members of the Hawaii Longline Association (HLA) are proud to catch and offer to consumers nationwide.
“Hawaii-landed swordfish has always been a high-quality option for seafood lovers,” said Mike Goto, auction manager of United Fishing Agency Ltd. “The landed quality and size of fish, as well as the diverse culinary preparations for swordfish, really make it a premium seafood product.”
“The fishery is among the most highly monitored and strictly regulated fisheries on Earth,” said Eric Kingma, executive director of the Hawaii Longline Association. “We have 100 percent federal observer coverage, satellite-based vessel monitoring, daily at-sea electronic reporting, and other requirements including protected species mitigation measures. With our recent MSC certification, consumers can be more confident than ever that the Hawaii swordfish they enjoy is harvested in a responsible and sustainable manner.”
The Hawaii longline fleet is comprised of 150 vessels, with most targeting bigeye and yellowfin tuna year-round. Around 20 vessels out of the fleet seasonally fish for swordfish in waters approximately 1000 nautical miles north of Honolulu.
The annual weight of swordfish landings is around 1.5 million pounds, making the Hawaii fishery the largest producer of swordfish to the U.S. domestic seafood market: roughly half of all the swordfish landed by weight in the country is from the Hawaii fleet. The main domestic market for swordfish is the U.S. East Coast, but consumers can find it in fish markets and high-end restaurants across the country.
The Hawaii longline shallow-set swordfish seasons runs from January until June.
The Hawaii Longline Association represents the Hawaii longline fishery, the largest food producing industry in the State of Hawaii. A major fishery of the United States, the industry is managed under federal regulations, and fishes primarily in international waters around the Hawaii Archipelago. The fleet supplies highly monitored, traceable, fresh, ice-chilled, premium quality fish to Hawaii and U.S. mainland markets.