KONA, Hawaii (KHON2) — Hawai’i Island Officials have announced that there will be a coral spawning initiative taking place at Kahalu‘u Beach Park in Kona.
The spawning event is set to take place between May 5 and May 12.
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“It’s a rite of Spring in the coastal waters on Hawai‘i Island; and across the Hawaiian archipelago, [it is] time to let coral colonies rest during their short spawning windows,” said the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Officials said the closure intends to help enhance the spawning of cauliflower coral. This type of coral is essential for rejuvenating the coral reef ecosystem.
“Our administration remains steadfast in our efforts to protect our natural and cultural resources here on Hawaiʻi Island,” said Mayor Mitch Roth.
Mayor Roth went on to explain further.
“Thanks to the work of Aunty Cindi and her team, Kahaluʻu Bay has seen a significant resurgence of its natural sea life; and we hope the community will join us in respecting the area through the vital period of coral spawning,” added Mayor Roth.
The coral spawning is being overseen by the Kohala Center’s Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center (KBEC) and the Division of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DLNR-DAR).
These agencies are asking that residents and visitors voluntarily refrain from swimming and snorkeling while Kahaluʻu Bay is closed.
It is through cooperation that this closure will provide the environment necessary for the cauliflower coral to successfully spawn.
“Coral gametes will more likely be able to find suitable reef areas to recolonize within the bay if given a chance to settle undisturbed by human activity and/or pollutants,” said Officials.
KBEC has been working on its ReefTeach program that educates residents and visitors on proper reef etiquette. KBEC believes this educational program will help mitigate the negative impact that humans have on coral reef ecosystems.
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The Department of Parks & Recreation and KBEC extended their appreciation for the public’s understanding and respect for this vital coral recovery and replenishment process.