Fish Thieves Leave Hawaii Taxpayers on the Hook

As the June 16 opening of Koke‘e trout season approaches, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is asking for the public’s help with catching what appears to be fish thieves who left taxpayers on the hook.

DLNR is seeking information that may assist an ongoing investigation into the possible theft of rainbow trout that the Division of Aquatic Resources was holding in pens at the Pu‘u Lua Reservoir at Koke‘e, Kaua‘i.

On March 28, 2012, a DLNR employee discovered trout missing; he estimated that the pen held 3,000 fewer fish than in the previous week. Subsequently, a report was made to the Kaua‘i Police Department that individuals were observed near the floating pens in the reservoir. Damage to the pens was also observed, and obstacles placed on roadways to the reservoir had been moved.

“We are very concerned about this action, which harms the opportunity for many Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i families who look forward to the opening of Koke‘e trout fishing on June 16,” said William Aila Jr., DLNR Chairperson.

Anyone who may have seen persons in or around the reservoir in March is asked to contact the Kaua‘i Police Department or the state Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) on Kaua‘i at 274-3521. Also, anyone seeing non-state employees around the reservoir before the trout season opens should also immediately call these numbers.

“The Department encourages the public to comply with state regulations and to stop from damaging  valuable equipment used in the rearing of the trout,” said Aila. “We still expect a good fishing season come June 16, although not as good as if we were able to release an additional 3,000 trout for fishing.”

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