Big Island officials investigating poisoned prawns

Local News

HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — Seafood lovers, beware! Poisoned Tahitian prawns are circulating on the Big Island.

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Over the last three months, officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) have investigated six suspected chemical poisonings of streams north of Hilo.

Officers found mass die-offs of prawns in streams and on the banks, indicating the prawns attempted to escape the poisoned water.

DLNR officials say, unless suspects are caught in the act of pouring chemicals into the stream, cases are difficult to prosecute. In April 2018, hundreds of Tahitian prawns were found dead in streams at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

The public is being warned to be careful about the sources of their prawns.

If you believe a stream near you has been poisoned, follow these steps:

  • Notify the DLNR at (808)-643-3567 or via the free DLNRtip app.
  • Note time of day, date, and vehicle/license plates
  • Provide photographs if possible, and a call-back number
  • If you observe prawns crawling out of the water, freeze them as soon as possible. Freezing helps preserve poisons, which break down quickly.

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