Reporting Hooked or Entangled Marine Animals

Posted on Mar 15, 2021 in Announcements, Boat Harbors, Commercial Activities, Fishing Activities, Main, Ocean Recreation Activities


Best fishing practices can prevent injuries.  Your phone call can save a life!

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Best practices for Fishing around Protected Species:

Prevent the Event – Always watch your gear

  1. If you see a seal while fishing, consider taking a short break to give the seal a chance to move on.
  2. Never feed a seal!
    A seal that gets food from one fisherman will try to poach from other fishermen, impacting everyone’s fishing experience. It is illegal to feed a marine mammal. 
  3. Clean catch away from seals.
    Keep discarded fish scraps and bait away from seals—never throw scraps into the water near shore – it will attract unwanted animals to the area.
  4. Fish with barbless circle hooks.
    Crimp the barb if  you believe a seal might be in the area. Barbless hooks may not prevent a seal from getting hooked, but they cause less injury and are easier to remove.
  5. Report illegal gillnets!
    By reporting to the DLNR, you are helping sea turtles, seals, fish, and fishermen: 643-DLNR (3567). See Hawai’i State fishing regulations.


Fishing Around Sea Turtles 

If you accidentally catch a sea turtle, or see an entangled sea turtle IT’S OK TO HELP! Just remember, SAFETY FIRST (for you and the turtle). 

  1. Reel in turtle with care. Please bring in the animal for disentanglement. Do the best you can to reel-in (land) the animal carefully. DO NOT drag a turtle up a cliff. 
  2. Hold turtle by its shell and/or flippers. 
  3. Cut line close to hook as short as possible. 
  4. Remove the hook only if it can be done without injury to you or the turtle. If the hook barb is exposed smash the barb down to easily extract the hook and shorten the handling time of the turtle. DO NOT remove the hook if swallowed. If using a barbless hook, then the hook should easily come out. 
  5. Release turtle with no line attached. Remove any line from flippers, head and neck. Help to remove any remaining line from the reef. Dispose of the line in a responsible manner. 
  6. Please report hookings to the Marine Animal Response Hotline: 1-888-256-9840. 


Utilize barbless hooks: You can crimp the barb off of your hooks with a pair of pliers. 

  1. It’s better for the fish. It’s easier to quickly release unwanted catch without causing damage to the fish, which means more and healthier fish for you to catch in the future. 
  2. It’s better for you. Minimize injury to yourself and others, as well as damage to shirt, shorts, and nets. 
  3. It’s better for Hawai‘i’s protected species. Barbless hooks reduce potential injury in the event of an accidental hooking or entanglement, and allow for quicker release or self-shedding release to reduce trauma and enable a return to normal activities. 


For more information about fishing around protected species or for free barbless circle hooks please visit: