DAR investigating porcupine fish deaths

Something weird is happening in West Hawaii’s water, William Walsh, a biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources, said Monday.

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Something weird is happening in West Hawaii’s water, William Walsh, a biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources, said Monday.

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park staff found about 15 porcupine fish with all fins removed, Walsh said.

“We’ve never heard of anything like that,” he said. “That’s the perplexing part. What is going on here?”

Walsh said all of the fins — pectoral, dorsal and anal — had been removed, likely cut.

“There’s no way this is any sort of natural occurrence,” he added.

The porcupine fish, called kokala in Hawaiian, is often seen in groups. It appears as though the incident, whatever it was, happened somewhere off shore, with winds and current bringing the carcasses to the national park’s shoreline, he said.

The fish is not a protected species.

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“It’s not considered a food fish because it can be poisonous,” Walsh said, offering another reason why it was unusual to see the fish killed.

Anyone who has any information about why the fish would have been killed and the fins cut off should contact the Kona DAR office at 327-6226.

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