Illustration of Opah

Opah

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Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

Regions

Variety

aka Moonfish

Lampris guttatus

Method

Wild

Pelagic longline

Location

Hawaii, Pacific Ocean (North, South, WCPO)

Overall Rating

0 - 1.8 / 5

Summary

Opah are top predators found worldwide. Between 1987 and 2001, 6,569 opahs were recorded as being caught by longliners in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

In the WCPO, opah are managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). No management measures exist for opah in the WCPO, north or south Pacific and management of bycatch is lacking. Opah have life history characteristics that make them moderately vulnerable to fishing pressure. The status of opah in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) is unknown and there is no information on the fishing mortality rates.

Pelagic longlines are a nonspecific fishing method. Extensive bycatch of tunas, sharks, sea turtles and seabirds occurs. The non-target species caught include several of near-threatened or endangered status as designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species of concern include loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. The opah fishery puts significant pressure on these threatened species. Management is insufficient to protect the bycatch species. Pelagic longlines have minimal impacts on the habitat as they rarely make contact with the seafloor. The ecosystem impacts of removing exceptional species through fishing have not been explored, and are not incorporated into management schemes.

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Variety

aka Moonfish

Lampris guttatus

Method

Wild

Drift gillnet

Location

California

Overall Rating

2.324 / 5

Summary

The California drift gillnet fishery targets primarily swordfish, with common thresher sharks being a secondary target species. The fishery incidentally catches shortfin mako shark, opah, Pacific Bluefin tuna and albacore tuna. The abundance of shortfin mako shark is unknown, which is a serious concern. Pacific Bluefin tuna are overfished. As gillnets are a non-selective method of fishing, the fishery catches a number of bycatch species such as sea turtles and sperm whales. Although management measures have reduced the number of sea turtles accidentally caught, regulations around sperm whale bycatch are no longer in effect. Gillnets do not typically damage habitat as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Swordfish catches in California have declined from 1,413 mt in 1993 to a low of 62 mt in 2010.

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