Twenty-eight goldring surgeonfish, Ctenochaetus strigosus (Bennett), manifesting skin lesions and originating from the north-western and main Hawaiian Islands were examined. Skin lesions were amorphous and ranged from simple dark or light discolouration to multicoloured tan to white sessile masses with an undulant surface. Skin lesions covered 2–66% of the fish surface, and there was no predilection for lesions affecting a particular part of the fish. Males appeared over-represented. Microscopy revealed the skin lesions to be hyperplasia, melanophoromas or iridophoromas. The presence of skin tumours in a relatively unspoiled area of Hawaii is intriguing. Explaining their distribution, cause and impact on survivorship of fish all merit further study because C. strigosus is an economically important fish in the region.