KAUAI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fishermen partnered with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources this Labor Day weekend in an effort to catch invasive black-chin tilapia on Kaua’i’s North Shore.
DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources received reports of an influx of the invasive fish along the Na Pali coast.
The aggressive fish poses a threat to native species. Officials think the tilapia along the coast may have washed into the ocean from a ditch systems on the west side of the island.
“They haven’t been here so this is a new thing and we don’t want them to get established in here, so trying to get them out before everything becomes a breeding population,” Kaili Shayler of the DLNR aquatic resources division said.
The teams zeroed in on the Nu’alolo Kai area of the state park armed with nets to catch the fish.
“This is an unfortunate and dramatic example of how invasive species, once introduced to Hawaii, can quickly take hold and ultimately out-compete native species for resources like food. While certain types of tilapia are fished or raised for human consumption there’s no place in our aquatic ecosystem for these invasive fish, particularly in the high numbers we’re now seeing on Kaua‘i’s north shore,” DAR Administrator Brian Neilson said.
Over the last few weeks, loads of fish have been caught and analyzed. Officials hope the studies will help identify migration patterns and causes for the influx.