Mahimahi, which means “very strong” in Hawai’ian, is a highly migratory pelagic species found in the world’s all tropical and subtropical waters including the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is also known as Dolphinfish, but has no relation to dolphins, a marine mammal. The Hawai’ian name has been widely adapted as its common name. Sports fishermen covet mahimahi for its playfulness, size and beauty.
Mahimahi are blue green on the upper half of their body with golden hues on the sides, fading to white and yellow. Their sides have a mixture of dark and light spots. They also have a long dorsal fin extending along their backs. Mature males possess a prominent bony crest in front of the head. Mahimahi is a very versatile fish and can be used in many cooking applications. Because it does not have much fat, it should not be overcooked as it will dry out easily.
Mahimahi are fast growing and have a short life span, up to five years. Because of their relatively short life span, they are very productive fish, being able to reproduce at just four to five months old, or between 17 and 21 inches in length. They are thought to spawn every two to three days throughout their entire spawning season. Females release between 33,000and 66,000 eggs in each spawning event. Adult Mahimahi are either solitary or travel in loose-knit groups of two or three fish. Their streamline body and fast speeds allows them to feed on other fish and squid. They are known to congregate around large floating objects such as logs other marine debris. As such, many fishermen that are targeting Mahimahi look for floating debris.
This fishery uses a longline to catch a variety of pelagic fish on the high seas such as tuna and swordfish. A deep-set longline is used to primarily target tuna and a shallow-set longline is used to target swordfish or mixed species including bigeye, Albacore and yellowfin tuna. Baited hooks are attached to a line that floats in the ocean using buoys and flagpoles.
This fishery uses a variety of artisanal hook-and-line methods to catch coastal pelagic fish such as tuna, marlin, swordfish, mahi mahi, wahoo (ono) and others. A pole and line with live bait scattered into the water is used to catch feeding skipjack tuna. Trolling with lures and lines, and handlines with lures, lines and bait bags are used to target larger fish such as bigeye tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi and wahoo.