Tests to determine cause of death for fish on Lehua Island: Inconclusive

Updated: Nov. 27, 2017 at 6:06 AM HST
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LEHUA ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state may never know what killed dozens of fish on Lehua Island earlier this year.

In September, video surfaced of dead fish floating in tide pools around the island. The fish turned up around the same time the Department of Land and Natural Resources conducted controversial rat poison drops in an effort to kill rodents on the island.

State officials confirmed 45 dead fish and two dead birds were found and taken in for testing.

In a statement Monday, the DLNR said the results of the testing to determine the cause of death came back inconclusive. The samples were in "severely degraded condition," the DLNR said, making it impossible to determine if the fish died from natural or other causes.

The poison drops worried many environmentalists who doubted the program from the beginning.

"I was pretty disgusted," Kilauea resident Dustin Barca told Hawaii News Now in September. "They promised up and down this kind of stuff wouldn't happen and it's just common sense with a small place with a fragile ecosystem like that, it's common sense that there will be negative effects."

The test were conducted alongside officials from Wildlife Services and the Department of Agriculture.

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