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DLNR NEWS RELEASE: “Hands off” of moi during June through August

Posted on May 24, 2016 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU —  A fish with a lot of “fingers” will be hands-off starting June 1.  The season for moi, or Pacific threadfin, will be closed from June through August in Hawaii waters.

Moi is the only fish in Hawai‘i belonging to the genus Polydactylus, which is Greek for “many fingers”.  The “fingers” are actually six filaments extending from the base of each pectoral fin.  It is also one of the relatively few Hawaiian fishes to undergo sex reversal, changing from male to female by the time it reaches about 10 inches in length.

“Moi is one of Hawai‘i’s most significant fish species, from a cultural perspective,” said Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.  “In ancient times it was reserved only for chiefs; commoners were forbidden to eat it.  But if moi suddenly appeared in large numbers, chiefs considered it an omen of disaster.”

“Today we still value it as one of our most sought-after reef fishes,” she continued.  “The closed season helps sustain moi populations by protecting them during their critical summer spawning period.  We ask for the fishing public’s kokua in complying with the closed season, and protecting our ocean resources.”

Early Hawaiians also placed a kapu or prohibition on certain fish during their spawning season as a conservation measure.

During the open season – September through May – the minimum size for moi is 11 inches, and the bag limit for possession and/or sale is 15. However, a commercial marine dealer may possess and sell more than 15 moi during the open season with receipts issued for the purchase.

Copies of Hawai‘i’s fishing regulations are available at DLNR’s Aquatic Resources offices, most fishing supply stores, and online at

To report fishing violations, call 643-DLNR (3567).

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Media contact:

Deborah Ward

DLNR Communications Specialist

Phone: (808) 587-0390