Warming ocean brings coral bleaching back to Hawaiian waters

Hawaiian waters are experiencing their third widespread coral bleaching event since 2014, and the Division of Aquatic Resources is asking ocean users to take specific steps to help reduce its severity. Division staff are distributing cards to dive shops statewide with tips on how to help our reefs. They include:

  • Let fish protect reefs – avoid taking herbivorous fish like uhu and surgeonfish; they help control algae growth.
  • Don’t touch corals – they are easily broken, so keep a distance from them.
  • Stand on the sand – don’t walk on or trample corals, but keep to sandy patches.
  • Use reef-friendly sunscreen – avoid products with oxybenzone or octinoxate.
  • Keep chemicals away from storm drains – fertilizers, detergents, oil, etc. harm reefs when they make their way to the ocean.
  • Anchor away from reefs – drop anchors only on sandy patches, or use moorings; keep anchor chains off reefs.

While these are things we should be doing all the time, it’s especially important now.

Snorkelers and divers are also encouraged to report any bleached corals you may observe on the website www.hawaiicoral.org.

Link to news release.