DLNR Encourages Companies, Locals to Take Coral Pledge

November 7, 2019, 9:30 AM HST (Updated November 10, 2019, 6:36 PM)
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An example of how a coral reef dissipates wave energy. Photo from Palmyra Atoll. PC: Kydd Pollock/Nature Conservancy

This year’s coral bleaching event has prompted state agencies to create a pledge to protect the delicate ocean ecosystem.

According to a press release from the the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Division of Aquatics Resources has introduced the “Coral Pledge,” which is a six-step reminder of how everyone can help to not add stress to Hawai‘i’s coral reefs during the time of bleaching.

Twelve tour and hospitality companies and other organizations are founding signatories of the pledge. Everyone is encouraged to take the pledge, however it is targeted toward the visitor and tourism industry.

“These companies host millions of visitors each year. Many of them spend a lot of time in the ocean and many are not aware of the simple things they can do to avoid injuring or killing fragile corals,” explained DAR Administrator Brian Neilson.

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The Coral Pledge highlights six actions:

  • Let Fish Protect Reefs
  • Corals Like Their Space
  • Stand on the Sand
  • Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
  • Contain Any Chemicals
  • Anchor Away from Reefs

The hope is those who sign the pledge will share information with their guests before they get into the water for the various ocean activities.

A television special on the coral reef is scheduled to air Nov. 8 and Nov. 14. The half hour special will air on KFVE and will will highlight the beauty of the reefs and demonstrate both their ecological and economical value. Many people featured in the film are from Maui and the Big Island.

The main Hawaiian Islands have 410,000 of living reef with more than 7,000 coral species, with a quarter of those only found in Hawai‘i. All coral face a threat due to rising ocean temperatures, seal level rise, pollution and unsustainable fishing.

“Not only is this about saving coral for future generations, it’s recognition that our keiki will ultimately take leadership positions in the effort,” said Neilson.

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