Military denies involvement with fish kills

The military denies that its training activity off Kaua’i and Ni’ihau had anything to do with the fish kills and whale deaths.  Still the military will not disclose what activities it conducted because they are classified.   The public has no reason to believe them.   The military claimed that no depleted uranium was used in Hawai’i, but in 2006 we revealed that DU was discovered in Lihu’e near Wahiawa.  Since then, the Army has admitted that DU was also released in Pohakuloa, and possibly in Makua.   Recently the USS Port Royal, the Navy’s most sophisticated Aegis destroyer, ran aground and crushed the coral reef, and the Navy did not tell state or the public that it had dumped 7000 gallons of raw sewage just a short distance from heavily using fishing and recreational areas.  The military conducted secret biologial and chemical weapons tests in Hawai’i and other locations in the 1960s, coded named Project 112/Project SHAD.   Veterans of these tests have fought to get the tests declassified so that they can get proper compensation and treatment for health problems that afflict them.   The tests include the release of sarin nerve gas on the Big Island and the release of biological “simulants” at still classified locations on O’ahu.    A veteran of these tests told us that some of the tests involved the release of bacteria from ships in Pearl Harbor to study how the cloud of biologial “simulant” moved and behaved as it wafted up towards central O’ahu.


Military denies involvement with fish kills

DARPA: No underwater sonar used

By Coco Zickos – The Garden Island

Published: Friday, March 27, 2009 2:10 AM HST

LIHU‘E – While the community awaits answers with regards to the Ni‘ihau, Lehua and Kaua‘i fish kills that occurred earlier this year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – which conducted military operations during the same time period – and the Pacific Missle Range Facility said Thursday all activities administered during the month of January were not irregular and met with their environmental guidelines.

“I’d like to further clarify that all activities that took place on the range during this time were normal and within the scope of our EIS, to include both classified and unclassified operations,” said PMRF spokesman Tom Clements in an e-mail, responding to a report in The Garden Island that military activity could have caused large fish kills and the deaths of two baby whales.

A DARPA official also said the military did not cause the deaths.

“There were classified military operations in the area during that time frame. I cannot provide details of these operations, but I can tell you definitively that no rodenticide or chemicals were involved, nor were there any underwater sonar, acoustics or explosions,” said Jan R. Walker of DARPA external relations in a written statement provided by Clements. “In short, the tests did not involve any activities that could harm fish or marine mammals.”

Chapter 12 of the Hawai‘i Range Complex Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement said there is “uncertainty in predicting impacts to marine mammals and fish from (mid-frequency active) sonar.” The document also raised concerns about swim bladder resonance in fish and the potential impacts of particular frequencies on certain species.

The adult male trigger fish, or humuhumu, collected on Ni‘ihau had a “pale liver and swollen swim bladder,” according to Don Heacock, marine biologist for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatics Division on Kaua‘i.

“Typically where we see distended fish bladders is when someone is bottom fishing and brings the fish up really fast and it doesn’t have time to acclimate to the pressure changes,” Heacock said.

Preliminary analysis by Dr. Thierry Work, wildlife disease pathologist with the National Wildlife Health Center, after a gross necropsy was administered showed “no visible external lesions” and “no evidence of external or internal bleeding.”

Chris Swenson, coastal program administrator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, confirmed Wednesday that results have ultimately revealed that rodenticide was not the cause of the fish and whale kills. He said there are a number of factors which could have contributed to the incident, and added further testing must be done for confirmation.

Heacock has “strongly suggested” that the National Water Quality Assessment Program conduct further tests which would encompass numerous pesticides, chemicals and other “abnormalities.” Dr. Carl Berg, marine biologist and water quality expert, said a number of fish collected from Ni‘ihau have been frozen and are ready to be sent for further examination as soon as approval is confirmed.

Until then, the cause of the swollen swim bladders will remain a mystery, and Ni‘ihau residents will continue to wait for answers.

Coco Zickos, business writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or


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