LAHAINA - Forty-eight divers and 24 teams participated in the Roi Roundup invasive species spearfishing tournament on Nov. 6.
The purpose of the event is to remove invasive fish from Valley Isle reefs, including roi (peacock groupers), to'au (blacktail snapper) and ta'ape (blue-line snapper). All three species were introduced to Hawaiian waters in the 1950s.
Divers competed for top honors in several categories, including most fish, largest roi and smallest roi.
Dean Kawamura (left) caught the largest roi, and Peter Colombo shot the smallest. Photos by Jay Molina, Maui Roi Roundup.
In all 217 fish (205 roi) were caught. Points were awarded as follows: 146 for each roi, 50 for each to'au and 50 for each ta'ape.
Here are the results: Most Points by Team - Peter Colombo and Jeremy Selg, 4526 points, 31 roi; Hans Buetzer and Brandon Riley, 3650 points, 25 roi; and Dean Kawamura and Bryan, 3212 points, 22 roi; Largest Roi - Dean Kawamura, 1,468 grams; Smallest Roi - Peter Colombo, 48 grams; Most Ta'ape by Team - Dana Hue Sing and Brendan Lee with ten; Most To'au by Team - George Vierra and CJ Casco with one.
According to organizers, each average-sized roi consumes approximately 146 native reef fish per year, so the contest may have saved 29,930 native reef fish.
The official weigh-in was held at Hard Rock Cafe.
Founders and organizers of the Roi Roundup include Brian Yoshikawa of Maui Sporting Goods; local Maui fisherman Darrell Tanaka and his wife, Jackie; Stuart Funke-d'Egnuff of Tri-Isle RC&D; and Kuhea Paracuelles, a local conservation professional.
Event organizers pledged to never let any of the fish caught in these tournaments go to waste. In past years, they have been donated to Maui Ocean Center to feed the marine life or given to an organic farmer for use as fertilizer.
Samples of roi are also collected by the State Division of Aquatic Resources to be used in ciguatera research.