Ehu reach sexual maturity at about 9 to 11 inches, or three years old. Like many other bottomfish, Ehu reach peak spawning in the summer months, from July through September. Their pelagic eggs are released into the water column. The pelagic larvae swim in the water column for about 25 days until then move to deeper water before settling down on the ocean floor where they will spend the remainder of their adult life.
Ehu is the Hawaiian name of the short-tail red snapper that looks similar to its bottomfish cousin, the Onaga. Ehu, however, can be distinguished by a distinct yellow stripe running along the upper third of its body from head to tail. Ehu also have a much shorter tail than Onaga. Like many of the deep-sea snappers of Hawai‘i, Ehu live near underwater headlands and areas of high relief such as seamounts anywhere from 600 to 1,000 feet deep. They are one of the heavily managed “Deep Seven Bottomfish” of Hawai’I which also includes Opakapaka, Onaga, Kalekale, Lehi, Gindai, and Hapuʻupuʻu.
Ehu have a vivid scarlet color and a slender tail.The fish’s iris is usually a brilliant red as well. This long-lived species is the third most abundant bottomfish in Hawai’i. Though not as highly sought after as Onaga, Ehu can be easily substituted for Onaga in cooking.
This fishery uses rods and reels to catch six species of snapper and one species of grouper that are called “bottomfish.”
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