Helping native ocean life thrive, divers gave back to the land in the process

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 7:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group of divers teamed up to take on a mission of helping native species thrive in Hawaii waters.

Hawaii Skin Diver and Red Sea Ocean Adventures brought together 28 divers in late May who spent the day helping to rid Oahu’s reefs of roi and other invasive species that threaten native fish.

“Roi is a peacock grouper. It’s a sought after fish throughout the pacific, but here in Hawaii because they have ciguatera, no one targets them,” said Kevin Sakuda.

The divers spread out in waters off Kaneohe Bay and East Oahu. Roi weren’t the only fish on the target list. They also speared toau and taape.

In all, they removed about 80 pounds of invasive fish and donated all of their catch to Hakipu’u Lo’i in Kahaluu.

The nutrient-rich fish aren’t for eating, but are used as fertilizer by taro farmers. Fish contain nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and calcium which can help in the growth of the plants.

“It’s just like putting nutrients into the soil,” said Kahai Fukumitsu.

To thank them for their kokua, the taro farmers gave fresh homegrown kalo to the divers and their families. It was a coming together of people who love the ocean and the land, and showcases how the land and oceans can benefit from each other.

“This is like our community helping each other and it’s similar to a rope. If it’s just separate strands, it’s going to break. If we are helping each other, we become stronger as a community,” said Fukumitsu.

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