Divers spear 218 Invasive Fish Species
Source: Honolulu Advertiser.com
http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com:80/ar ... lnewsfront
LAHAINA, Maui — Three species of invasive reef fish were targeted in a recent spearfishing tournament held in conjunction with the International Year of the Reef.
The Roi Roundup sent 80 divers into the waters off Lahaina to spear roi (blue-spotted grouper), toau (blacktail snapper) and taape (blue-striped snapper), which were introduced to Hawaiian waters by the state in the 1950s to enhance fishing opportunities.
As voracious predators, the fish are diminishing native fish species. Each roi, for example, eats an average of 146 fish per year.
Organizers report the round-up brought in 218 roi, which means that more than 31,000 reef fish will be spared annually.
Last month's event was co-sponsored by the county's International Year of the Reef campaign, spearheaded by Mayor Charmaine Tavares, Maui Sporting Goods and Hard Rock Cafe.
A similar spearfishing tournament targeting the same invasive species was held earlier this year and drew approximately 54 divers. It also raised money for a team of three divers who represented Hawai'i in August's U.S. Spearfishing Championships in Rhode Island.
The $10,000 raised at last month's event was donated to spearfisherman and reef conservationist Sean "Stody" Stodelle, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer two months ago. Stodelle is known throughout the state for promoting safety via the Hawaii Skin Diver Web site.
Several conservation and resources enforcement officers with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources participated in the Roi Roundup and volunteered with crowd control and diver check-in.
Darrell Tanaka, a coordinator of the event and lifelong fisherman, said: "As a spearfisher, I find this concept of killing fish to save fish rather unique. We are the only ones that have the ability to help the reefs in this way, so as divers, we need to put our abilities to good use."
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