Scientist uses Hawaii menus for fisheries research

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - A federal fisheries researcher is turning to an unusual source to learn about historic trends in Hawaii fish populations.

West Hawaii Today reports Kyle Van Houtan of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wanted information on mid-20th century sea turtle fishing and decided to check old restaurant menus to learn about the sale of turtle meat.

He learned little about turtles but found information about fish he'd never heard of, including weke and hapuu.

He says old menus allowed him to track the decline in some reef fish populations by reviewing how frequently the species appeared on Hawaii menus.

Van Houtan says the menus are providing revelations about fisheries during a period when scientists were not conducting as many population studies as they do now.

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