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Monday, May 12, 2008

What is the Hawaii State Fish?

Mauna Kea beach on the Big Island has a great reputation not just for the whitest white sand beach but also almost perfect coral reefs for beginning snorkelers. I myself mostly enjoy the clear warm waters for an early morning swim, which I combine with watching the tropical fish in the reefs, as I swim across from one side of the bay to the other. On either end, one finds great coral reefs with an abundance of tropical fish. When you are new to the ocean, we recommend you snorkel on the right side when facing the ocean. This area is covered by Mauna Kea Beach hotel life guards.

Humuhumunukunukuapuaa Hawaii State FishWhen recently snorkeling the coral reefs at Mauna Kea Beach, I spotted several of my favorite Hawaiian fishies: the spiked puffer fish (can blow himself up by swallowing lots of water to a huge size, so he won't get eaten by the sharks), the yellow tang, which are a favorite by lots of Mainland visitors because of their strong yellow color and last but not least, the popular Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, which is really a cutie because of his colors and shape. Of course, there were many more fish to admire and Bobbie from the Right Blue, who wrote our guest post about Diving and Snorkeling in Hawaii would be able to name them all, with common and Latin names.

When preparing this post about the Hawaii state fish, which I was convinced was the Humuhumu, I came across the controversy and the statement that it was 'dethroned'. Well, I had not heard about that in all my years living in Hawaii and Wikipedia had not heard about it either. No one told the public that the Humuhumu's reign was over, so few knew anything had changed. Problem seems to be that the Humuhumu 'only' got chosen by the public through projects by the University of Hawaii and the Waikikia Aquarium in 1989. So lawmakers decided to make it the Hawaii state fish only for 5 years.

I can't even imagine that anyone would not want this fish to be the Hawaiian state fish. Opponents say the humuhumu is not unique to Hawaii. There is no lack of fish species specific to the islands. Thirteen species of wrass alone are found here and nowhere else in the world but none is as cute as the Humuhumu plus has this great Hawaiian name, which any tourist has a hard time to pronounce.

No wonder that we see the cute fish and its long name on T-shirts, cups and in TV commercials. Let's have some fun! Gov. Linda Lingle refused to give the fish the state title back and instead said that decision should instead be left to the public. If it ever comes to a new 'vote', let's vote for the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa as the Hawaiian state fish, or what do you think?
Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations

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