The invasive roi was purposely introduced by the State of Hawai'i to O'ahu and the Big Island from Moorea in 1956 with the goal of creating a commercial fishery. Roi quickly spread to all the main Hawaiian Islands, but the envisioned fishery never materialized after roi caused a number of ciguatera incidents.
In contrast to the benefits that roi was expected to bring to Hawai'i, they now compete with fishermen by consuming up to 146 native fish per year, per roi.
What I love about the "Roi Roundup" is that the founders and organizers have come up with a creative and fun way to educate our community and address this problem on a local level. They actively engaged 48 divers in conservation efforts, and these educated divers will most likely continue to eradicate the invasive species when possible in their own fishing grounds; much like gardeners weeding their gardens.
Imagine if all stakeholders approached problems in the way that Brian, Darrell, Jackie, Stuart and Kuhea have by creating this Roi Roundup tournament. Instead of pointing fingers and placing blame, they focused on what could be done by local people who use the ocean as a resource and educated and encouraged them to take care of it in this way.
Much mahalo to Maui Sporting Goods, Hard Rock Cafe, Tri-Isle RC&D and all organizers and participants for continuing to support this worthwhile endeavor.
Tamara Paltin Napili