Pilot program to eliminate invasive fish species by electrocuting them

Pilot program to eliminate invasive fish species by electrocuting them
Published: Jun. 26, 2015 at 7:42 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 26, 2015 at 10:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - How to rid Hawaii of invasive fish species in streams across the state?  Dr Michael Blum, an associate professor at Tulane University, thinks he has the answer.

He says electrocuting them would be the best way, the process is called electrofishing. 

"The principle of electrofishing is relatively simple.  The idea is to introduce a current into the water and expose fish to the current so it effectively stuns them momentarily so you can collect them," he said.
Blum has requested the Department of Land and Natural Resources a special activity permit that would allow for an approximately six month long pilot program. It would take place in twelve streams on Oahu.

"The idea is to explore electrofishing as a management tool for removal of aquatic invasive species which are considered one of the top if not the top threat to native species in the streams of Hawaii," he said.
Blum says special care will be paid to native species.

"We're adding a cautionary step where we take the time, consideration and intensity to remove them by hand before introducing any electric current."
The targeted invasive species are guppies and armored catfish, which both negatively affect their environment. 

Blum explains why he specifically chose Hawaii. 
"The culture and the value that's placed on the native species in the streams is tremendous.  If you compare Hawaii to the mainland, there's an enormous level of endomicity and biodiversity here than elsewhere." 
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