Herbivore Scoping


What are herbivores and why are they important for coral reefs? 

Fish and other animals that primarily eat plants, seaweed, and algae are called herbivores. There are many species of herbivorous fishes in Hawaiʻi. The most commonly fished herbivores are parrotfish (uhu), chubs/rudderfish (nenue), and surgeonfish (manini, kole, kala, etc.). These species play many important roles in Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters.

Bert Weeks

Coral reefs rely upon abundant populations of herbivores to remain healthy and resilient. Herbivorous fish maintain a balance in coral reef ecosystems by grazing the reef and preventing corals from becoming overgrown with algae. Read more about the importance of herbivores here.

Why are regulations needed?

Regulations are used to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing practices. By limiting the number and/or size of fish that are caught at one time, communities can benefit from more fish in the future and have plenty of food on the table for family and friends. Regulations ensure fair and sustainable fishing opportunities for Hawaiʻi’s present and future fishers.

How can I get involved?

Be part of the discussion to better protect Hawaiʻis reefs by participating in public scoping meetings.  This is DAR’s first step towards statewide herbivore management. Public participation is essential and your input in this process will inform future decision making.  The earlier we hear from you, the easier it is for us to ensure all perspectives are heard and incorporated. Read about our Sustainable Herbivore Management Plan here.

Previously, the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) held 16 initial scoping sessions, 10 in November of 2020 and 6 in March of 2021, to gather feedback and comments on herbivorous fishes and invertebrates. Now, a year later, DAR has drafted a Sustainable Herbivore Management Plan and refined our initial ideas for an Herbivore Management Strategy.

A series of public scoping sessions for updates to the Statewide Herbivore Management Strategy were scheduled in 2021 on December 11, 13, and 15th through Zoom. Frequently asked questions (FAQ) from the December scoping meetings can be found further below. While currently there are no further scheduled meetings at this time, there will still be several opportunities for the public to comment on proposals in the future.

The next steps in the process are to evaluate the comments we received during the scoping sessions and develop a rule-package to eventually bring to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for consideration. Our website will be updated as new information becomes available. Please sign up for our mailing list here to receive future updates.

Bert Weeks

Are these island-wide rules or statewide rules?

This rulemaking effort is a statewide effort to address widespread department concerns about declining reef health and herbivorous fish populations.

 Holomua Marine 30×30 will be working towards place-based planning for specific areas throughout the state with public input about the specific needs of particular places. If you would like to see different rules in your place, please participate in that process as well.

Any additional thoughts or questions? Talk to us!

Click below to read about our Sustainable Herbivore Management Plan

View Herbivore Information Flyer

View Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from the December 2021 Herbivore Scoping Sessions


Access and view previous public herbivore scoping notes below:

Statewide Herbivore Scoping Notes: December 2021

December 11, 2021

December 13, 2021

December 15, 2021

Online Feedback Summary Notes


Targeted/Hosted Scoping Notes: March 2021

Hawai‘i Island Fishers Scoping Notes

Kaua‘i Fishers Scoping Notes

Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) Network Scoping Notes

Maui Fishers Scoping Notes

Native Hawaiian Gathering Rights Scoping Notes

O‘ahu Fishers Scoping Notes


General Public Scoping Notes: 2020

East Hawai‘i Scoping Notes

West Hawai‘i Scoping Notes

Kaua‘i Scoping Notes

Maui Scoping Notes

O‘ahu Scoping Notes