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NOAA Says Intense Bleaching Event Likely

August 22, 2019, 4:05 PM HST (Updated August 23, 2019, 9:07 AM)
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Coral Bleaching West Hawai‘i. Photo credit: The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i

In 2015, Hawai‘i coral reefs suffered through the worst coral bleaching event in history.

Surveys The Nature Conservancy conducted in subsequent years indicate roughly 60% of West Hawai‘i corals bleached during that event. Now, four years later, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch program, is predicting Hawai‘i’s coral reefs are entering a major bleaching event within the next two months, if not sooner, according to a press release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

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Rising sea temperatures are likely to cause corals in Hawaiian waters to bleach and even die, the release said. NOAA and the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) are asking for everyone’s help in trying to be proactive and to minimize any additional stress put on corals.

DLNR and NOAA will hold a joint news conference on the issue 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, at Magic Island on the Waikiki side.

Featured will be Brian Neilson, administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, and Dr. Jamison Gove, research oceanographer with NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

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