Hundreds of catfish found dead in Kailua after storm

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UPDATE 4/18/2018: City crews and volunteers went out to Kailua beach Wednesday morning to clean up the dead fish littering the sand. The city says most of the fish had washed back into the ocean but what was left was removed and hauled away.

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Some Kailua residents thought they could took a break from the rain and stroll the beach.

Instead, they found hundreds of dead fish littering the shoreline.

The fish were found Sunday along Kailua Beach near Castles. Some of the marine creatures found rotting on the beach were seahorse, eels, and hundreds of freshwater catfish.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kailua resident Zabia Geisreiter. “I brought my dog down here today and we only spent about five minutes. You don’t want to walk in this.”

We learned the City and County of Honolulu is responsible for removing beach debris if it becomes a nuisance or unsanitary. The city tells us it’s looking into the situation and will have an update Wednesday.

At this point, the city says it’s unknown where the fish came from. It’s possible the stream runoff from the storm caused the fish to die.

“One major possibility is that all the rain and runoff created nutrients, a plankton bloom, used up all the oxygen in the marsh, and the low oxygen levels led to a major fish kill,” said Alan Friedlander, director of Fisheries Ecology Research Lab at the University of Hawaii.

“We don’t usually see this many dead fish,” said Michael Loftin of 808 Cleanups.

808 Cleanups says it’s willing to lend a helping hand, but is waiting to hear back from the city first. In the meantime, Loftin warns beachgoers to be careful.

“I wouldn’t want dogs or any other animals eating this fish, so I would advise people to keep a close eye on pets while they are out here until this gets cleaned up,” he said.

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