Hapu – Hawaiian Sea Bass Flavor Profile

Hapu Flavor Scale

Hapu is a low fat content fish with beautiful, white, semi-firm flaky flesh and a clean, delicate taste.  It has a flavor which is similar to, but a little more pronounced than Hawaiian Snappers.  It is prepared both as a whole fish and as fillets.  The head and bones are excellent for soups or fumet.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Hapu’ upu’ u, Hawaiian Grouper, Hapu’ u, Hawaiian Sea Bass, Mero, Hapuupuu, Seale’s Grouper, Mahata (Japanese), Hawaiian Black Grouper

Typical Wholesale Products

Whole fish (1-5 lbs), Fillets

Hapu – Hawaiian Sea Bass Description (Epinephelus quernus)

Hapu is a member of the grouper family and as such it has the ability to change colors to blend with its surroundings.  When landed, most Hapu are black in color, though depending upon the region harvested they may have a brownish or reddish color.  They can reach weights up to 50 pounds, but average landing weight varies between 5 – 30 pounds.

Although knowledgeable fishermen can specifically target this fish, Hapu is usually a by-catch while fishing for other Hawaiian snappers.  It is popular in Hawaiian ethnic markets and Chinese restaurants.

Hapu-Hawaiian Sea Bass filletHapu fillets www.honolulufish.com

Hapu-Hawiian Sea Bass wholeHapu photo by Hawaii-Seafood.org


Hapu’ upu’ u (Hawaiian Sea Bass) Fresh Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


Hapu Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

Item To Skin/On Fillets To Skin/Off Fillets Notes
Whole Head/On ungutted (Round) 40% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Hapu’ upu’ u is a deep water bottom fish which is only found near the Hawaiian Islands.  It dwells primarily between the depths of 300 to 900 feet, with larger fish inhabiting the deeper waters.

Hapu landings from the main Hawaiian Islands tend to be in the 5 to 10 pound range, while fish from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have an average size of 10 to 30 pounds.

Additional Culinary Notes

Occationally Hapu’ upu’ u may have sac-like parasites.  These are not harmful and can be easily removed before cooking.

Fishing Gear

Hapu are line-caught using deepwater handlines with power reels.

Sustainability Info

Name Alternate Names Catch Method Catch
Hapu’u Hawaiian Grouper, Hawaiina Sea Bass, Mero Wild, Hook & line Hawaii Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png n/a
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
July 2013


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat 154
* Protein grams 36
* Fat grams
* Saturated fat grams 0
* Sodium milligrams 128
* Cholesterol milligrams 68
* Omega-3 grams 375


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Suggested Reading

Join Us!

See Our Tutorial Library!

Related Pages Index

Books by Chefs Resources!

Handcrafted Cards

Blog Archives