Big Island Polls

Big Island Now poll no. 51: Is an insurance policy for Hawai‘i’s coral reef worth it?

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The state along with nonprofit partners are always working together to find ways to promote the health and protect Hawai‘i’s coral reefs.

Acropora corals grow toward the sunlight to form beautiful, massive tables at Palmyra Atoll. Credit: Jeff Milisen/NOAA

On Sunday, the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources took part in a second collaborative coral restoration project with Hawaiian cultural practices and protocols in the waters of Kealakekua Bay where project partners planted ko‘a [coral].

Lineal descendants of Kealakekua along with The Nature Conservancy and DLNR/DAR divers and other nonprofit organizations collected pieces of ko‘a that had broken off during recent high swells and would otherwise have died.

The Nature Conservancy also upped its coral reef insurance policy this month. Encompassing 344,950 square miles of coral reef in the Hawaiian Islands, the policy’s minimum payout doubled to $200,000, while the maximum payout total of $2 million over the year-long policy period and $1 million per storm.


The policy is triggered when tropical storm winds of 50 knots or greater occur in the core of the coverage area. Payout rates are calculated based on storms’ wind speeds and proximity to the core.

About 25% of all marine species are found in, on and around coral reefs, rivaling the biodiversity of tropical rainforests, according to the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. However, the importance of coral reefs extends beyond their vital role in ocean ecosystems: Healthy coral reefs can absorb up to 97% of a wave’s energy, helping to prevent shoreline erosion, loss of life and billions in annual property damage throughout the United States.

In this week’s poll, Big Island Now wanted your thoughts on how best to protect the state’s asset and treasure.


Press Here to Take the Poll

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