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Importance of Fish
Fishing Seasons
Wind, Rain, Currents
Fishing Grounds
Fishing Gods, Shrines, Prayers
Fishing Legends
Fishing Methods
Specific Fish
Other Seafood
Fish Preparation/Eating
Fishing Sources

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Specific Fish

`Opelu, akule, ahi, aku, and moi are some of the fish typically caught in Hawaiian waters. `Opelu (mackerel scad) is a delicious eating fish, caught and consumed in large numbers by traditional Hawaiian fishermen. Measuring about 12 inches, `opelu is dark blue in color with white on the belly. The dark meat has few bones and is eaten raw, dried, or broiled.

Akule (big-eyed or goggle-eyed scad), another fishery staple, was a favorite for drying. Similar in size to `opelu, akule are also dark blue and travel in large schools.

`Ahi (tuna) is a deep sea fish ranging in size from 75 to 200 pounds with a stout steely blue body. The Kona and Ka`u districts of Hawai`i island are famous for `ahi. Chiefs went there for sport fishing, `ahi being one of the most thrilling game fish. `Ahi is eaten raw, baked whole in an imu, or as separate pieces wrapped in ti leaves.

Laulaha ka `ai a ke `ahi
The `ahi fish takes the hook in swarms.
Said when the sea is full of canoes fishing for `ahi. Also said of a successful business: customers come in swarms.
-Hawaiian proverb.

Aku, ocean bonito, is perhaps the most delicious eating fish. Hawaiians ate the whole fish, from the head to the tail, eating it raw, dried, or cooked in an imu. A stout fish two to two and a half feet long, aku is deep blue with deeper blue stripes.

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Moi (threadfish) are shoreline fish growing to 18 inches or more. Tawny yellow in color, the moi's narrow lengthwise stripes change color according to their surroundings. Another delicious eating fish, in ancient times moi were reserved for chiefs while commoners were forbidden from eating it. Often eaten raw, it is also salted, dried, or cooked in ti leaves. Moi travel in schools and when appearing in large numbers to chiefs, they were an omen of disaster.

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Images of Hawaiian Fish (Bishop Museum)

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