HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced that the historic Mala Wharf on Maui will be reopening earlier than expected.

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On Saturday, Oct. 14 at 6 a.m., recreational boaters will be allowed to utilize the ramp and facilities.

“Reopening Mala Wharf to our local recreational boaters means that our residents will now be able to use the boat ramp daily,” said Maui Mayor Richard Bissen.

The announcement comes after Maui County delivered a trailer to serve as staff space for the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation on Thursday morning. Crews will use the trailer as a temporary office space for harbor agents.

“We thought it would take 30 to 60 days to get an office trailer into West Maui, but thanks to the County of Maui, we were able to get one right away,” said DLNR Chair Dawn Chang. “Their assistance in ensuring the availability of restroom facilities and lighting have been invaluable and made the reopening possible.”

While the ramp will be open full-time for recreational vessel activity, the DLNR said it’s unknown whether fish caught in these waters are safe to eat pending ocean water testing results.

DOBOR staff have put up signs, to warn people of potential human health risks from exposure to contaminants in ocean water.

Due to the unknown water quality, all shoreline commercial permits are on hold.

The DLNR stated that the following rules apply only to current Mala Wharf permit holders: 

  • Existing Mala Wharf commercial permittees in good standing may access the Mala ramp on weekdays only. It is closed to commercial activity on weekends and all holidays.  
  • Commercial operators will be required to shuttle their passengers to the facility in order to reduce vehicle traffic in the surrounding area and minimize visitors traveling through fire-impacted areas.  
  • All permitted shoreline commercial activities will be prohibited due to water quality concerns. 
  • Shoreline commercial permittees will be notified when their operations can resume.  

Any Mala Wharf commercial permit holder who violates any of the conditions could face revocation of their permit.

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Chang said, “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as Federal, State, and County agencies worked to reopen Mala facilities. We do reserve the right to close Mala down again based on health and safety considerations.”