HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s a popular game fish in Hawaii, and it’s been released into four different locations in waters off Oahu. About 150 tagged papio were cast out into the ocean and the University of Hawaii said any fisherman who catches one of them can win a prize.

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The papio were released on Oct. 17 through 19 for small-scale research purposes in hopes of showing how raising and releasing these fish could potentially offset fishing pressure. In addition, researchers say this could help the local reef fish populations if done on a larger scale in the future.

“What I hope this project achieves is bringing awareness to the concept of restorative aquaculture,” said Spencer Davis, a PhD student at UH Mānoa’s Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) and an employee of Oceanic Institute of Hawaiʻi Pacific University. “That fish can be grown from eggs collected from public aquariums and that those fish can be used to restore populations of wild fish.”

The four locations where the papio were released are Waikiki Aquarium, Kaneohe Bay, Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District and Pokai Bay.

If a fisherman catches a tagged papio there is instruction on the tag to call the researchers and report the date, capture location, length and weight of the fish. Only general area location is asked for so you don’t need to worry about giving away secret fishing spots.

Those who report a tagged papio can have their name entered into a raffle to win a prize supported by Nanko’s Fishing Supply. The raffle will happen at the end of the recapture period which is about one year after the papio were released.

“We would learn about how much the fish grew in the wild, how far it traveled from the release location, and how likely fishermen are to recapture fish that are released as part of similar restorative aquaculture efforts,” said Davis.

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The University of Hawaii is asking that those who want to see more projects like this happen to contact Davis at sbdavis@hawaii.edu or (808) 699-9991 and receive a brief survey to indicate your interest.