A whale of a theft occurred at Waipahu High School. Thieves broke into the school’s outdoor aquaponics program and stole 1,000 tilapia from their water tanks.
School officials speculate that it was probably a series of break-ins that occurred sometime earlier this week.
The program was proudly displayed when the U.S. Secretary of Education toured the school last March.
The aquaponics project is located in an isolated area in back of the campus. It appears that thieves cut a hole in the fence and made off with the fish that were being cared for by the students.
“A thousand fish was stolen. So that pretty much wiped us out. There is no tilapia outside anymore. Our aquaponics system is shot, we can’t run them,” said Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi.
An aquaponics system involves using nutrients from fish waste in the water to grow plants and then the water is filtered back to the fish.
“It’s very demoralizing. Students put in a lot of time and effort to get the systems going, and when individuals like these make these choices to come and break in and steal from schools, it hurts everyone,” said Hayashi.
This is the first time the aquaponics program at Waipahu High School has been the victim of theft since it began about five years ago. The school has filed a police report but so far there are no suspects.