WAIALAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The mixing of salt water with fresh water is believed to have caused the deaths of several fish in the canal that flows through Waialae Beach Park, state officials said.
Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, said there would be no subsequently testing of the water there to check for any additional contaminates. She added that they received a call that up to two dead fish were found in the stream where the City and County of Honolulu is currently doing stream maintenance work, suggesting that it is not considered a significant fish kill number to warrant water testing.
Okubo said it's believed the fish died during the routine clearing of sand berms when opening the mouth of the stream, allowing for the mixing of salt water with the fresh water, which can be deadly for the fish.
However, a viewer told Hawaii News Now that he saw dozens of dead fish and that the water was brown and had a strong odor Wednesday afternoon.
A check of the waterway on Thursday morning by our reporting staff discovered only one dead fish -- it's unknown when it died -- in the area along with plenty of other fish and crab activity in the waterway.
Chemicals and other contaminants can harm or kill fish, but researchers say there are many reasons that fish can naturally die in the water, most often when the dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water becomes too low or depleted. Warmer water temperatures hold less oxygen and increased algae growth can compete with fish for oxygen. Other stressors can also make fish vulnerable to infection and subsequent death.