Special Provisions, Licenses, and Permits
Closed Season License (lobster and Kona crab) – HAR 13-74, HAR 188-57
During the closed season, a dealer may sell, or a hotel or other public eating establishment may serve spiny lobster, slipper lobster, or Kona crab lawfully caught in the waters of the State during the open season by first obtaining an appropriate Special Marine Animal or Product Possession and Sale License. Also, see special provisions applicable to commercial fishing in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and to imported marine life. License fee $50. Duplicate $10.
Baitfish License – HAR 13-74, HRS 188-45
Commercial fishermen may apply for a license to take baitfish other than nehu for use in fishing operations where fish are caught and landed in the State. No baitfish caught may be sold or transferred except for bait purposes. License fee $50. Duplicate $10. A license for taking nehu may be issued to persons employed on live-bait tuna boats, only if the person’s principal means of livelihood is derived from tuna fishing and the sale of tuna, and the fish are caught and landed in the State; such nehu may not be sold to others. Each license shall cover the operation of one fishing vessel, and must be carried aboard the boat at all times. Each licensee must furnish monthly baitfish catch reports fo the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Imported marine life – HAR 13-74, HRS 189-6
Unlawful to possess, sell or offer for sale any aquatic life or product thereof of any size taken outside the waters of the State, when the taking, possession or sale of the same species is restricted if taken within the waters of the State, without first obtaining an appropriate Special Marine Animal or Product Possession and Sale License. License fee $50. Dup. $10.
Scientific, educational or propagation purposes – HRS 187A-6
Any person with a bona fide scientific, educational or propagation purpose may apply in writing to obtain a Special Activity Permit to legally take certain aquatic life, use certain gear, and gain entrance into certain areas otherwise prohibited.
Freshwater game fishing – HAR 13-74, HRS 188-50
Unlawful to fish for, catch or take any freshwater game fish without first obtaining a Freshwater Game Fishing License. License fee $5 (residents over 15 years of age, military personnel on active duty in the State and their spouse and dependents over 15 years of age); $3 (all minors between nine and 15 years of age); no charge (all senior citizens 65 years of age or over); $25 (non-resident); $10 (7-day tourist), and $20 (30-day tourist). Minors below nine years of age may fish without a license when accompanied by a licensee. Duplicate $1. Where bag limits are specified, each licensee may take only one bag per day. The catch of a child below nine years of age will be considered part of the catch of the licensed supervising adult accompanying the child. A child under nine years of age who wishes to take a bag limit on his/her own must purchase a valid freshwater fishing license. Unlawful to sell introduced freshwater game fish.
Fisherman harassment – HRS 188-71
Unlawful to prevent or attempt to prevent the lawful taking of fish by licensed freshwater anglers, including by means of affecting behavior of fish, affecting personal property for fishing, or obstructing access to fishing areas. Unlawful to enter or remain on public lands or waters, or private lands or waters without landowner’s permission, for this purpose.
Release of non-native aquarium life – HRS 187A-6.5
No person shall release any live non-native fish or other live non-native aquatic life into any waters of the State.
Longline Fishing – HRS 189-2.5
Defined: Longline fishing is conducted with gear consisting of at least one mainline over one nautical mile in length, to which is attached a number of branchlines with baited hooks. The mainline is suspended below the surface by floatlines attached to surface floats. Unlawful to engage in longline fishing within state waters, or sell or offer for sale any marine life taken with longline fishing gear within state waters. Unlawful to possess, sell or offer for sale any marine life taken by longline fishing gear which is prohibited by or in violation of rules adopted by the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Shark Feeding – HRS 188-40.6
Unlawful to conduct any activity related to the feeding of sharks in state waters. Persons engaged in taking marine life that results in captured, injured, or dead fish being incidentally eaten by sharks are not in violation, provided the purpose of taking marine life is not the feeding of sharks. Persons may feed sharks for traditional Hawaiian cultural or religious practices, provided the feeding is not part of a commercial activity.
Shark Fins – HRS 188-40.7
Unlawful to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute shark fins. Shark fin is defined as the raw or dried fin or tail of a shark.
Manta Rays – HRS 188-39.5
Unlawful to knowingly capture or kill a manta ray within state waters.
Dive Flags – HAR 13-245-9
Spearfishers and other divers must mark their position with a dive flag while diving, and may not surface more than 100 feet from the dive flag in ocean waters (50 feet in navigable streams), except in an emergency. Dive flags shall be displayed only when diving in in progress, and must be removed from the water when no diving is in progress. Dive flags displayed on the surface of the water must be a minimum of 12″x12″. If mounted on a vessel greater than 16 feet in length, dive flags must be a minimum of 20″x24″ and displayed with a blue and white alpha flag.