Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, September 22, 1999

‘Walking’ fish no
danger to other species,
biologist says

Question: When throwing away trash recently at the refuse collection center on Kawailoa Drive in Haleiwa, I ran across a catfish "walking" across the road. This fish was alive and anxiously heading toward the wetland refuge. This concerned me since this fish may be a detriment to the wildlife of the wetland. Can you check into this, since I was told by others throwing away trash that they came cross this before and the fish were coming from a nearby farm. This fish is illegal in all the states on the mainland and should be regulated here. If not, it will be all over the rivers and streams of Hawaii, just like the tilapia.

Answer: There is no need for concern, according to Mike Yamamoto, an aquatic biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

What you saw is a Chinese catfish, which belongs to the same genus as the so-called "walking catfish," but it is a different species and is not harmful.

"It's been here since the 1800s," Yamamoto said. "It was brought to Hawaii by Asian immigrants."

Yamamoto said it can breathe air and, so long as it is kept moist, "they can kind of waddle."

The name walking catfish originated in Florida many years ago, when there was an infestation of another closely related species, he said. Someone referred to them as walking catfish and the name stuck.

Q: Can anything be done about the intersection of Waialae Avenue and St. Louis Drive? The traffic heading east (Diamond Head) on Waialae has an advance left-turn signal. However, after the light changes, cars continue turning left toward St. Louis Heights. This is especially bad during the morning. Last week we waited until four cars turned in front of us after the signal changed. I know police can't be standing at every "bad" intersection, but it's very bad there.

A: East Honolulu police officers were sent to monitor the area, so we hope the situation has improved a bit.

Red-light violators are among the top priorities in the Traffic Division, said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu. One way police hope to curb that is by installing cameras at key intersections.

The state Department of Transportation is reviewing requests for proposals from vendors who can install the cameras, said spokeswoman Marilyn Kali.

It hopes to put out a bid by the end of this year and have them in place by next summer, she said.

It's not known what intersections will be targeted, except that they're expected to be ones where there is a lot of traffic and/or where there have been many accidents, said Capt. Bryan Wauke of HPD's Traffic Division.


To some members of the University of Hawaii band for acting so rudely during the introduction of the opponent's starting lineup at UH Wahine volleyball games. Why does the band director tolerate such rudeness? Is this taught at the UH? I've heard so many similar comments from other people about this that I decided to say something. -- L.Y.


Our fondest mahalo to the men who helped us fix a flat tire at the first UH Rainbow football game. It's people like you who make Hawaii a better place to live through your aloha spirit. -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

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