Scientia Marina, Vol 63, No 3-4 (1999)

Seasonal abundance of the dolphinfish, Coryphaena hippurus, in Hawaii and the tropical Pacific Ocean

Syd Kraul
Pacific Planktonics, United States


This report looks at possible explanations for the seasonal abundance of the dolphinfish, Coryphaena hippurus, in Hawaii. In Hawaii and many parts of the Pacific Ocean, the abundance of C. hippurus (called mahimahi in Hawaii) varies seasonally in a pattern that is fairly consistent from year to year. Size frequency analysis shows that this pattern of seasonal landings matches the pattern of cohort abundance in certain years. The strongest cohorts are spawned in July, often stay in our fishing zone for at least 5 months, and may comprise the predominant portion of the catch through October. Even though mahimahi spawn copiously all year in captivity, the data here suggest that wild mahimahi either spawn less frequently, or their larvae survive better at certain times of the year. Thus, seasonal abundance of mahimahi in Hawaii might be a function of cohort survival. The abundance pattern also fits the pattern of change in seasonal surface temperatures, and it is quite possible that mahimahi migrate north and south to stay in the sea surface thermocline associated with the 23°C isotherm. Natural growth rates were derived from our size frequency analyses, and the rates matched growth rates reported in a previous study of otolith ring deposition. A significant increase in longline fishing in 1989 increased total landings but did not reduce the catch quantity or sales price for charter boat mahimahi.


growth rate; age; size frequency; temperature; migration; fishing methods; market price; flotsam

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Copyright (c) 1999 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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