Ta’ape, or bluestripe snapper, is named after its four bright blue stripes running along the side of it body. Its native range is quite extensive, from the Indian Ocean to Central Pacific. However, the species was introduced to Hawai’i from Tahiti in 1956 along with its cousin, the blacktail snapper. In Hawai’I, Ta’ape are considered an invasive species that competes with native species for food and habitat. Although it is a reef fish, it is sometimes caught along with bottomfish along the outer slopes of reefs.
Ta’ape is bright yellow with the lower sides and underside of its head fading to white. All its fins are bright yellow. Fishermen often catch it while targeting Hawai’i’s “Deep Seven” bottomfish. It is typically marketed fresh and whole, and is a cheap alternative for more expensive native reef fish.
Ta‘ape reach sexual maturity between 7 and10 inches. Spawning occurs year round. In the Andaman Sea, peak spawning activity is seen from November to March. Adults inhabit anywhere from shallow lagoons to coral reefs to outer reef slopes at depths of up to 500 feet. They are often seen in large schools in and around caves and coral formations. Ta‘ape eat small fish, invertebrates, and are known to eat a variety of plant and algae material. In its native region, the blue stripes running along the side of Ta‘ape mimic that of the goatfish, Mulloidichthys mimicus. The goatfish swim alongside the snapper, mimicking it for protection against predators. The goatfish is more desirable for predators than the Ta‘ape.
Hook and Line Reef Fishing
This fishery uses a variety of artisanal methods to catch reef fish, including handlines, and pole and lines. Catch rates are low, usually only a few pounds per hour with little bycatch (discards). These small-scale fishing methods are similar to those traditionally used by native Hawaiians.