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by Tom Ogawa, OI Researcher

 

One of the main objectives of the program is to explore the feasibility of boosting natural populations of popular commercial and game fishes by incorporating stock enhancement efforts with other fisheries management strategies.

‘ Omilu, or bluefin trevally, are among the most popular of near-shore sport fish in Hawai‘i. Thanks to the help and support from local fishermen in the past, the striped mullet and moi enhancement experiments were largely successful. For many of these experiments, we investigated which release strategies were ideal for maximizing post-release survival and thus benefit to the fishery.

Here are the kinds of questions we will be attempting to answer during this project.

What constitutes a good release site?

Is there an ideal season(s) to release fish that would optimize post-release survival?

What is the optimal size at release that would maximize initial survival while minimize the cost of production?

Can the fish be taught to avoid predators before being released into the wild?

What is the optimal release number before an area becomes overloaded?

So far, approximately 3,000 ‘omilu up to six inches long have been released on the windward side of O‘ahu. Each of these papio contains an internal coded wire tag (CWT), as well as an external visual implant elastomer (VIE), located just behind one or both of the eyes. The elastomer tags, which are fluorescent and rubbery when dry and are up to one centimeter in length, are injected with a hypodermic syringe into the adipose tissue covering the eyes. This tissue is the clear gelatin-like covering protecting the eyes and is perhaps most obvious on moi and mullet species.

For those of you who like eating the head and the eyes, no worries; the tags are nontoxic and will just pass through if eaten.

Students interested in stock enhancement and fisheries-related research are invited to call Gary Karr at 259-3146 for internship or volunteer information.

 

 

 

 

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