About HLA

The HLA was established in 2000 to advance the interests of the fishermen and related industries involved in the Hawaii longline fisheries and to facilitate involvement in the fishery management process of Federal and State agencies.  HLA provides a forum for Hawaii longline fishermen to collaborate in development of positions and recommendations, and occasionally to take issue, with respect to regulation of the fishery.  The industry representatives who initially organized the HLA had previously been active participants in efforts by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) to develop or refine measures to conserve the highly migratory fish stocks being pursued by the longline fishery and other fisheries in the region, and this was usually constructive.   Hawaii longline participants were able to support measures to conserve the stocks, mitigate adverse impacts on Hawaiian monk seals and other non-fish species, and resolve other bycatch concerns as well through this collaborative process.  However, when the regulations governing the fishery to limit impacts on sea turtles became excessive in the fishermen's view, longline fishermen agreed to establish the HLA to ensure that there would be a stronger and unified force to speak up for the industry, and where possible, work with the Government to seek regulations that would be effective without putting the fishery out of business.  However, at one point, the regulations became so onerous that HLA went to court to obtain relief.  HLA won a case and demonstrated the value of the organization. 

In more recent years, HLA has continued to work with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the WPRFMC as well as with other Federal and State agencies and in international fishery organizations to achieve its mission.  This has included collaboration in the ongoing review of the effects and effectiveness of the regulations intended to conserve the stocks and mitigate any impacts of bycatch, while providing a reasonable opportunity for economic profitability and for a competitive position relative to foreign longline fleets pursuing the same species and the same market. 

HLA also works with NMFS and the Department of State as part of the U.S. delegations to international fishery management commissions - the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) for the western Pacific Ocean.  The U.S. is a party to these Commissions, which make decisions concerning allowable catches as well as some monitoring and compliance measures that affect the Hawaii longline fishery (and other fisheries).  HLA provides information and advice with the intent of ensuring that the interests of HLA members are fully considered in development of U.S. positions at these Commissions.   HLA recognizes and appreciates the importance of international agreement on the conservation of these stocks as no single nation would be able to control fishing sufficiently to ensure the long term sustainability and productivity of the tuna and other stocks on which HLA members rely.  HLA supports sound, science based management that is fair and equitable to all parties with an established interest in the fisheries.  

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See the video to learn more about the sustainable Hawaii longline fishery which delivers fresh tuna and associated species to the Hawaii market.