Participate in the process


What are herbivores? Herbivore Regulations Flyer

Fish and invertebrates that primarily eat seaweed and algae are 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, pualu, umaumalei, kala and palani). These species play many important roles in Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters.

Why are herbivores important?

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. In addition, catching and eating herbivorous fish is a part of Hawaii’s local culture as well as an important contributor to the islands’ food security.  As a primary catch for many nearshore fishers, herbivores are also economically valuable to the Main Hawaiian Islands.

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.

10 virtual scoping meetings were held via zoom starting in November.  There were 2 meetings hosted by each DAR office district (Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui Nui, West Hawaii Island and East Hawaiʻi Island).   Each scoping meeting was outlined by the agenda below.

Jeff Milisen

Meeting Agenda (roughly 2 hours):

  1. Video presentation
  2. Initial Q&A about the process
  3. Facilitated discussion hosted by DAR
  4. Share-back and recap of discussions
  5. Q&A
  6. Next steps


Jeff Milisen








Which species may be included?

Herbivore species considered for rules will come from the following fish families: surgeonfishes (Manini, Kole, Kala, and many others), parrotfishes (Uhu), and chubs (Nenue).  Invertebrate species considered will be different species of sea urchins.

What regulations may be included? DAR Regulation Options

  • Bag limits – A number of fish that one person is allowed to take in a single day
  • Size limits – A minimum size required to catch (allows fish to grow to reproductive size)
  • Slot limits – A minimum and maximum size required to catch (allows fish to grow to reproductive size and larger fish to create more offspring)
  • Seasonal protections – A closure during the time of year fish species are spawning or reproducing
  • Gear regulations – Regulations on type of gear that is allowed such as: hook and line, spearfishing, nets, and traps
  • Place-based regulations – Regulations specific to established boundaries of an area/place

Bert Weeks

Are these island-wide rules or statewide rules?

This rulemaking effort is 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!

Access and view previous public herbivore scoping notes below:

General public scoping notes

East Hawai‘i Scoping Notes

West Hawai‘i Scoping Notes

Kaua‘i Scoping Notes

Maui Scoping Notes

O‘ahu Scoping Notes


Targeted/Hosted scoping notes

Hawai‘i Island Fishers Scoping Notes

Kaua‘i Fishers Scoping Notes

KUA Scoping Notes

Maui Fishers Scoping Notes

NHGR Scoping Notes

O‘ahu Fishers Scoping Notes