Thursday | August 17, 2017
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Briefs | Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Fish kill a mystery

A large fish kill reported Tuesday at the Waiopae tide pools in Kapoho may have had a human cause, according to senior health officials.

Fish, eel and crab were among the marine organisms found dead, and the cross-species die off suggests that they may have perished from poisons in the water, said Gary Gill, deputy director of the state Department of Health’s environmental division.

Herbicides and pesticides are being considered as possible culprits, though that remains to be determined, said Watson Okubo, Health monitoring section supervisor.

DLNR Education Specialist John Kahiapo said staff with the agency’s aquatics division estimated at least 50 fish have been killed.

Okubo estimated several dozen.

He said his staff were told of dead fish “carpeting” the bottom on Tuesday, though only a few dead fish could be seen Wednesday when a Health official arrived. The rest could have been eaten by predators, Okubo said.

There are no signs of a public health risk since whatever caused the fish kill has likely been washed out, Gill said. The tide pools remain open.

Big Island has numbers to match

When it comes to population, the Big Island lives up to its name.

The U.S. Census Bureau in a recent update on population growth named Hawaii County the second-largest “micropolitan” area in the nation.

With 189,191 people in 2012, the county, referred to as the Hilo micro area, fell behind only the Claremont, N.H.-Lebanon, Vt. area, which hosted a population of 217,000 last year.

The Census Bureau lists 536 micro areas, which must have a population center, or “urban core,” of between 10,000 and 50,000 people.

Anything larger is considered a metropolitan area. Oahu is considered one, and, as of this year, so is Maui County.

Hawaii County was ranked in 2011 as being the fourth-largest micro area, said Jan Nakamoto, a researcher with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. She said the change in ranking may have been helped by other areas, such as Maui County, making it into the metropolitan designation.

Between July 2011 and July 2012, the county saw the fourth biggest population increase of the micro areas, with 1,962.

Last year, the state saw an overall population increase of 14,184.

Honolulu County shared the largest chunk of that with 10,009 more people. Maui County had an increase of 1,560 and Kauai County had a bump of 653.