Hawaii & Alaska
State of Hawaii

Tilapia Invasion in Hilo Highlights Risk of Introduced Species

A new influx of Nile tilapia in Hawaiʻi Island waters is concerning biologists.

DLNR officials say the species is dominating Wailoa River in Hilo, as large schools of them are visible with the “naked eye.”

“Our biggest concern right now, is the Nile tilapia is competing with the native mullet (‘ama‘ama) for habitat and resources and potentially affecting the fishery,” Hilo-based aquatic biologist Troy Sakihara explained in the release.

“What makes them particularly troublesome as a potential invasive species, is they can survive and take over in a wide-variety of habitat conditions. Their very hardiness makes them an issue.”

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