Short Supply of Opakapaka Keeps It Pricey

Mike Lee
Mike Lee

KAKAAKO (KHNL)--Island fish lovers may be noticing very few restaurants are offering opakapaka as the fish of-the-day. There is shortage of this delicious island favorite.

It's a case of simple economics. Supply and demand. The tasty fish is in short supply and the prices reflects that.

Over the New Year, ahi hit more than $34 a pound. But at the fish auction, opakapaka sold for $50 a pound.

"It's the time of year bottom fishing is a little tight," says Mike Lee with Fresh Island Fish.

The prices have come down.

"The season opened back, should be open till May, June when closes back down to reduce fishing effort to give our stocks the ability to regenerate themselves. And limit the amount of fishing so we don't overfish the ground," Lee said.

But not many restaurants offer it. And like lobster, the price is "market value."

One island restaurant sells ahi for around $25 per serving, but opakapaka is $35.

"It's very costly right now, not a lot of people fishing right now primarily due to weather and demand this time of year."

Restaurant John Dominis is known for it's amazing views and unbeatable seafood. They still offer opakapaka on the menu every night. There is fresh opakapaka on ice at the entrance. They still sell quite a bit of it because people who love opakapaka will pay almost any price to have it.

Now that the ban is lifted and once the weather improves, you'll see more restaurants offering opakapaka as the catch-of-the-day.