Fishing for Knowledge..and Fertilizer

  • 25 July 2018
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 8157
Fishing for Knowledge..and Fertilizer

This past weekend, associate Extension agent Andrea Kawabata dove in a spearfishing event to gather roi, ta‘ape and to‘au. These fish species were introduced into Hawai‘i waters in the mid-1950s with the intent of providing fishermen with nearshore varieties of snapper and grouper. Over the years, these fish became well established throughout the state. Unfortunately, the fish have caused increased competition with native species for residence on the reef and for fish, arthropod, and mollusk prey. Roi also are known to sicken humans with ciguatera fish poisoning, although more research is needed concerning harmful levels of the disease within these and other shoreline fish, as well as levels of human susceptibility. Following the dive, faculty and students from UH Hilo, led by researcher Tim Grabowski, collected fish otoliths and tissue samples and measured weight and length to learn more about ciguatera and fish age and reproductive status, as well as the impact of these species on the reef. Best of all, no fish was wasted. Along with dive organizer Chris Funada, Andrea helped to organize the donation and delivery of over 210 pounds of fish to Big Island farmers, who will use it for compost and compost-tea fertilizers. In addition, proceeds from the event will be donated to the Kona Research Station. Mahalos go to Chris, Byron Kay, Chad, Kona Honu Divers, Kona Freedivers, and to all event participants, volunteers, and sponsors!