Scientists plan comprehensive survey of Hawaii’s bottomfish population

Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries
Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries

Scientists are looking to get a better picture of the population of bottomfish in the main Hawaiian islands.

They’re specifically looking at what’s called the “Deep 7,” a group of seven deep water snappers and groupers that include onaga, opakapaka, and ehu.

Graphic courtesy NOAA Fisheries
Graphic courtesy NOAA Fisheries

A survey will use the help of commercial fishermen through the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group who will report data about their catch. It’ll also include recording video of bottomfish through a camera system at 66 sites around the main Hawaiian islands. The video will be analyzed to determine the type and number of fish recorded. The results of the survey will be used to help determine best management practices for bottomfish.

Research fishery biologist Benjamin Richards said “our most recent stock assessment shows that ‘Deep 7’ stock is not over-fished, and is not currently undergoing over-fishing, and so the data that we’re collecting is to help ensure that that continues for the future.”

NOAA says this is the first mission of its kind. Data will be collected over a period of 15 days.

Preliminary results of the survey will be released in January 2017, with a final analysis expected later in March or April.

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