Don't dump pet fish in the ocean, owners told
Hawaii is participating in a national campaign to encourage pet owners to turn in unwanted aquarium fish and plants instead of dumping them in streams or the ocean.
The goal of the "Habitattitude" campaign, waged by federal and state agencies and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, is to reduce the possibility of released plants and animals becoming established in the ocean, streams or lakes.
Agencies are partnering with the Waikiki Aquarium, pet stores and animal shelters to be drop-off locations for unwanted aquatic plants and animals.
In Hawaii the floating water fern (Salvinia molesta) covered Lake Wilson in 2003, preventing water access by birds. Decaying plants used up the lake's oxygen, killing the fish. It cost $1.2 million to control the infestation, according to a release.
Peter Young, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the reefs are also at risk from the dumping of marine aquarium pets.
Pet owners should drop off aquarium pets at pet retailers; consider giving or trading with another pet owner, pond owner or water gardener; donate pets and plants to a classroom or aquarium society; seal aquatic plants in plastic bags and dispose; or drop them off at the following locations on Oahu:
» The Waikiki Aquarium, 2777 Kalakaua Ave., 923-9741
» Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., 946-2187
» State Department of Agriculture, 1849 Auiki St. (Plant Quarantine Building), 837-8413
» Waimea Valley Audubon Center, 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy., 638-9199.