Triggerfish include some 40 species of brightly coloured fish that inhibit tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world. They get their name from their dorsal spines that are triggered into an erect position as projection against predators. Two species—the black triggerfish and pink-tailed triggerfish—are popular in Hawaii whose state fish is the wedge-tail triggerfish.
Triggerfish have an oval shaped, highly compressed body. The head is large, terminating in a small but strong-jawed mouth with teeth adapted for crushing shells. The eyes are small, set far back from the mouth, at the top of the head. The anterior dorsal fin has a set of three spines for defense. The anal and posterior dorsal fins are capable of undulating from side to side to provide slow speed movement. The sickle shaped tail is used only to escape predators. Triggerfish come in a wide variety of colours and patterns depending on the species.
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.