Aloha and welcome to the ‘ō‘io tag-and-release angler-based program.
Without your participation we would not be able to collect such a large amount of valuable data. Fish tagging projects play an integral role in fisheries management and this is especially true for the Hawaiian bonefish (Albula spp.), known locally as ‘ō‘io. Archaeological records have shown that ‘ō‘io were an important part of Hawaiian culture as early as 1628 A.D. Large numbers of ‘ō‘io otoliths (inner ear bones) have been found along with hooks and other tools related to fishing activities. Bonefish continue to be a popular catch in modern Hawaii for subsistence and recreational fishing. Commercial landings have shown a drastic drop in numbers over the past century without definitive evidence pointing towards a specific reason for the decline.
Furthermore, little is known about important information such as their diet, growth rates, abundance, and distribution. Your tagging efforts will provide fisheries managers the necessary data to make sound conservation decisions. Prior to 1981, it was not known that two distinct bonefish species existed in Hawaii, Albula Glossodonta (round jaw) and Albula virgata (sharp jaw). Both fish are very similar in shape and coloration, but have distinctly different lower jaw shapes, body lengths, and habitat preferences. The different jaw morphologies distinctions make field identification relatively easy.
Your logbook data from the ‘Ō‘io Tagging Project will provide us with information that will help us: examine fishing success by time and location; determine habitat use and migratory patterns; estimate population abundance, growth rates, mortality; and to determine the status of fish stocks.
The previous tag-and-release program conducted in 2003-2006 provided valuable information on ‘ō‘io biology and the recreational fishery. Not only has it helped to encourage anglers to release their catch, the tagging program has been an effective public education tool. There is still much to be learned about the biology and fisheries for ‘ō‘io in Hawaii, so your participation will allow us to further our understanding, of how they interact with one another and their environment.