Amid controversy, DLNR completes final drop of rat poison on Lehua Island

Amid controversy, DLNR completes final drop of rat poison on Lehua Island
Updated: Sep. 12, 2017 at 6:24 PM HST
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LEHUA ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The third and final controversial rodenticide drop on Lehua Island finished wrapped up Tuesday. The state and its partners will now have to wait a year to find out if the rat eradication project worked.

Critics worried about the impact, especially after the discovery of 45 dead fish and two dead birds last week at the seabird sanctuary.

Right now, it's unclear if the deaths of the animals were caused by the poison. Lab tests are being done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the results are expected late November. 

Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources said that any short-term risks are far outweighed by the benefits.

"We have plenty of people who have different opinions. What we tried to do is stick to the solid science for this project and the long-term benefits," explained DLNR chair Suzanne Case.

Case said fishermen and opihi pickers should not be concerned about consuming marine life around Lehua Island.

"We have no concerns that there's any bioaccumulation in the marine ecosystem," she said. "We have a high level of confidence that it's a safe environment."

Monitoring teams will remain on the island for the rest of the week. Periodic checks will be done every few months. A final monitoring trip to determine the project's success will take place in about a year.

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