Coral Bleaching

Coral bleaching at Molokini Crater

Saving Coral and The Coral Pledge

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 (as described on this card) to help reduce its severity. While these are things we should be doing all the time, it’s especially important now. 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.

Companies who put people in the water (dive shops, snorkel tours, etc.) are being encouraged to take the Industry Coral Pledge, promising to promote reef-friendly practices.

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