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Posted on Nov 25, 2020 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(Kailua-Kona) – On November 6, 2020 DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) staff on Hawai’i Island responded to a report of numerous live coral fragments scattered below the base of a popular manta dive site mooring at Makakō Bay (Garden Eel Cove) in North Kona. DAR Kona staff documented numerous broken coral colonies along the mooring line and approximately 150 broken coral fragments in the sand at the base of the mooring. The definitive cause of the damage could not be determined and likely occurred more than two weeks prior to the report.

DAR biologists and staff ending up restored more than 80 healthy coral fragments to the surrounding coral reef using specialized marine epoxy. Unfortunately, a portion of the coral fragments were buried in the sand and are no longer viable. DAR will monitor the transplanted corals over the next year to evaluate their health and regrowth success.

Branching corals in West Hawai‘i recently experienced a severe bleaching and mortality event resulting in the loss of a large portion of the population in the region. Branching corals provide important habitat to many other reef creatures, including juvenile fish. “Because of the ecological importance of this type of coral and its need for recovery, state rules preventing coral damage are critically important. We were glad that a portion of these damaged corals could be given a second chance to survive,” said DAR/Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PCSU) Monitoring Coordinator Lindsey Kramer.

The taking, breaking or damaging of any stony corals or live rock is prohibited under Hawai’i Administrative Rules (HAR).

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)

Coral Photographs:

Photo captions:

Image 1: A broken coral colony on a day-use mooring line at Makakō Bay (Garden Eel Cove).

Image 2: Broken coral branches found at the base of a day-use mooring at Makakō Bay (Garden Eel Cove).  White bars indicate 10 cm increments.

Image 3: A restored cauliflower coral at Makakō Bay (Garden Eel Cove), secured back onto the reef by DAR using a specialized marine epoxy.

Image 4: Butterflyfish inspect restored cauliflower corals at Makakō Bay (Garden Eel Cove), secured back onto the reef by DAR staff using a specialized marine epoxy.

Image 5: Nikki Smith, DAR Aquatic Biologist, secures a broken coral back to the reef at Makakō Bay (Garden Eel Cove).

Media contact:

AJ McWhorter

Communications Specialist

Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources

[email protected]

808-587-0396 (Communications Office)