Ika-Shibi fishing is a traditional Hawaiian method of catching tuna that originated around the turn of the century, when Okinawan immigrants started fishing for tuna that attacked the squid they were fishing for. Ika-Shibi fishing takes place at night. A fishing boat equipped with squid-fishing equipment, including underwater and above-water lights, is anchored in areas where squid are commonly found. Squid are attracted to the lights, and they, in turn, attract tuna and other large fish; squid are caught and immediately used as bait. Fishermen use a handline, a trace, a lead weight between the two and a hook; lines are cast at different depths.
Standard Hawaiian fishing regulations for deep-sea handline tuna fishing apply to Ika-Shibi fishing.
Sizes of Fish
The minimum size of Ahi that may be caught and kept for sale is 3 pounds. Ahi refers to two species, yellowfin (the primary catch, by far, of the Ika-Shibi method) and bigeye. There is no minimum size for the other types of tuna caught with the Ika-Shibi method, such as albacore.
Licenses and Permits
No license is required for recreational fishing, but anyone taking tuna or other marine life for commercial purposes must take out a Commercial Marine License. If the squid is being caught with a net, fisherman also must obtain a Bait License. Fees vary. Licenses are available for purchase at any Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources office or online (see Resources, below).
Firearms and Spears
Fishing for tuna with spears is allowed, but the use of firearms is prohibited unless the tuna first has been gaffed.
Explosives and Other Devices
It is unlawful to fish with explosives, electro-fishing devices, chemicals, poisons and intoxicants.
It is unlawful to discard or otherwise dispose of any fishing net, trap or gear in the waters of the state of Hawaii. Dumping old equipment, even fishing lines, is a violation of Hawaii state fishing regulations, and the violator may be cited and fined.