Page 40 - Hawaii Seafood Buyers Guide

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I. Biological Description
Uku (Aprion virescens) is commonly known as a
snapper or jobfish. Among the three most popular
deep water snapper species in Hawaii, uku occurs
at the shallowest depths, usually no deeper than
60 fathoms.
Most of the uku catch is between 4 and 18
pounds round weight. Fishermen rarely catch uku
less than 1-2 pounds or over 30 pounds.
II. Of Special Interest For Buying/Distributing
Availability And Seasonality:
Although uku is
caught year round in Hawaii, the greatest avail-
ability is during its spawning season (May-July).
Fishing Methods:
Uku is harvested mostly with
vertical hook-and-line gear, however it is the
only snapper in Hawaii regularly caught near the
surface with trolling lures. Commercial fisher-
men have also used special bottom longline rigs to capture uku.
Fishermen sell uku through the fish auctions, through intermediary buyers on the major
islands, and directly to retail fish markets and restaurants.
The summer uku season is entirely out of phase with the winter peak for other deep
water snappers (opakapaka, onaga), offering numerous substitution opportunities.
III. Of Special Interest For Preparation/Quality Control
Shelf Life And Quality Control:
Most uku are harvested in the
main Hawaiian Islands, hence, the catch is marketed while it
is still very fresh. When properly cared for, uku has a long
shelf life, comparable to that of opakapaka (see Table 3).
Product Forms And Yields:
Virtually all of the uku catch is
landed as whole, iced fish, so that buyers can assess fish
quality by examining the clarity of the eyes and the color of the gills. Several processors fillet uku for
up-scale restaurants. The yield of fillet from a whole fish is about 45% (see Table 5). Whole fish are
sold for display.
Uku (Snapper or Jobfish)