HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - No, the fish weren’t taken home and eaten as many may have suspected.
Instead, fish that were illegally caught last week were put to good use for science, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Last week Thursday, natural resource enforcement officers seized more than 500 Aholehole that were caught in an illegal lay net in a Windward Oahu stream.
The men using the net were slapped with criminal citations for violating fishing laws. One of the men, 45-year-old Orlando Maiava, is a repeat offender for net violations.
Since the incident, many have inquired about what happened to the fish.
On Friday, the DLNR said the fish were used to help update estuary research records and improve management of the species.
“The 532 Aholehole seized by DOCARE gave us an opportunity to fill in some gaps in our fisheries data for this species," Acting DAR Administrator Brian Neilson said.
“Aholehole are among the most common species we sample in muliwai across the state. It’s a popular sport-fish, as well as an important stock in the Hawaiian icebox,” Neilson added.
After the fish were photographed, measured and recorded, researchers used the Aholehole to examine reproduction cycles, age and growth, population size and much more.
The data gathered will provide information critical for managing a healthy fish population.
And after the researchers were finished, the Aholehole were donated to a farm in east Oahu to be used as fertilizer, effectively returning them to the ecosystem.