2012 Maui Roi Round-up to Reel-in Invasive Species
By Wendy Osher
The Annual Maui Roi Round-up tournament will take place this Sunday, Nov. 4, with an official weigh-in at the Wailuku Community Center.
The purpose of the event is to remove invasive fish from Maui’s reefs, including roi (or peacock grouper), to‘au (or blacktail snapper), and ta‘ape (or blue-line snapper).
Event organizers say all three species were introduced to Hawaiian waters in the 1950s, but became invasive over time without a viable market for them. Organizers say there is also a potential threat of ciguatera poisoning associated with roi consumption.
About 50 local divers will be competing for top honors in several categories, including Largest Roi and Smallest Roi.
The official weigh-in begins at approximately 11 a.m. as the divers return to the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku.
During the weigh-in, personnel from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources will be taking measurements of roi and selecting specimens to be used in ciguatera research at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
All other fish will be donated to the Maui Ocean Center to be used for shark food or donated to an organic farmer for use as fertilizer.
Local musicians Hiki Nō, will perform live on stage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Exhibitors from the Maui Ocean Center, Community Work Day Program, The Nature Conservancy, and Whole Foods Market will also be on hand to provide information about sustainable fishing, invasive algae, a Hawai‘i Island roi removal study, and keiki games and activities.
At 1 p.m., a formal program starts with the presentation of trophies for teams with the biggest roi, smallest roi, most ta‘ape and most to‘au. Points are also awarded by species, with the most credit given for roi (146 points each), and lesser credit given for to‘au and ta‘ape (50 points each).
This marks the fifth year and eighth tournament since the inception of the Maui Roi Round-up in 2008.
The popular event inspired similar efforts on other islands.
The Roi Round-up organizing committee is made up of local Maui diver Darrell Tanaka and his wife Jackie, Brian Yoshikawa of Maui Sporting Goods, Stuart Funke-d’Egnuff of Tri-Isle RC&D, and Kūhea Paracuelles, a local conservation professional.