Many of the greatest threats to the reefs come from land-based sources of pollution, including sediment, nutrients, cesspools, sewer treatment plant overflow, and road run-off. Excess nutrients promote the growth of algae that compete for space on the benthic reef surfaces and affect the ability of coral to establish and grow. Another threat to the health of reefs is grounded vessels.
Climate change impacts on coral include effects from ocean warming, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification. Coral bleaching is becoming more frequent as the oceans warm, with predictions that by 2050 many of the reefs of the Pacific will bleach annually. Increased acidification of the ocean is caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide absorbed by sea water. With ocean acidification, less carbonate is available for coral reefs to build their calcium carbonate skeletons, causing coral loss. Coral cover throughout the Pacific is expected to decline 15% to 35% by 2035.
Benchmark - Where we are now
  • The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DLNR-DAR) finalized the Hawai‘i Coral Reef Strategy: 2010-2020 (2010) and has begun implementing place-based management in two selected priority sites: in South Kohala on the Island of Hawai‘i, utilizing The South Kohala Conservation Action Plan (2012) that was developed by local experts and stakeholders to address impacts to coastal resources; and on the Island of Maui, using both the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative to begin watershed planning in 2012 and the Kahekili Conservation Action Plan (2013).
  • DLNR-DAR, with support from partners, is developing and expanding community-based stewardship and co-management efforts.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT)-Harbors Division is working with federal agencies to improve and streamline mitigation efforts for planned impacts, such as harbor improvements, necessary for the state’s economy.
Target - Where we would like to be
  • As pilot projects are implemented, they are evaluated so that the most effective ones can be applied, as appropriate, in additional areas.
  • Education is a key strategy to address coral threats as residents and visitors are aware of the significance of the coral reefs and how easily they can be damaged.
  • An effective day use mooring program is in place, which reduces boating impacts to reef ecosystems, improves public access to resources, and helps to reduce user conflicts.

Day use mooring program funded and implemented in consultation with communities

The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’s (DOBOR) Day Mooring Buoy (DMB) program is intended to provide safe ocean recreation opportunities while minimizing damage to coral and other marine life in zones of high anchoring pressure by boaters.

DOBOR is currently gathering comments concerning proposed changes to DMB administrative rules. Outreach meetings will be held to collaborate with stakeholders and develop a fair and effective regulatory scheme.

Formal public hearings are projected to take place in Fall 2018 or later. After public hearings are held, the public can generally expect to see rules go into effect about four to six months later.

Agency: Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation

Image: (Above) Getty Images, (Right) DLNR-DOBOR 

Increase in percent of day use moorings maintained and managed by the state

The purpose of Day Use Mooring rules and zones is to reduce damage to coral and other marine life as a result of continuous use of anchors by commercial and recreational vessels in zones of high dive and mooring activity. The rules describe the provision for mooring at the State Day Use Mooring buoys and the zones where the buoys are located (Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules (HRS) §13-257-91 to §13-257-120).
In general:
  • No permit is required;
  • Moorings are for the day-time use only;
  • There is a limit of 2.5 hours if another vessel is waiting;
  • Anchoring within 100 yards of a day use mooring is prohibited except where no live corals exist; and
  • Separate day use moorings exist for recreational and commercial vessels at Molokini Atoll.
Permitted and Installed - General Permit PODCO GP 95-1
Agency: Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation

Increase in number of classes/educational efforts completed to educate boaters on day use moorings and the importance of mooring maintenance

DLNR, and its subdivision DOBOR, are the agencies in Hawaiʻi that oversee and regulate the recreational boating program in Hawaiʻi.

In October 2016, DLNR-DOBOR published an Instructor Manual for Hawaiʻi Boating Law Basics: State Specific Boating Rules and Regulations for Hawaiʻi, which includes training on the use of day-use moorings. The manual is used by instructors to educate boaters and is meant to be combined with and compliment a boating safety course approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The combination of these two courses are compliant with the Hawaiʻi Mandatory Education Rule (HAR  §12-244-15.5), which has been enforced as of November 2014.

In 2016, the Ike Kai curriculum for DOBOR was released. The Ike Kai training manual is intended for use by operators in the commercial and tourism industries. The curriculum was piloted with Manta Tour Operators, County Lifeguards, Kaʻanapali Hotels and Commercial Operators, as well as Hanalei Paddlers to discuss DOBOR rules, regulated activities, and Ocean Recreation Management Areas. The Ike Kai curriculum is available for review online. For more information on mandatory boater information, visit DLNR DOBOR's Website.

Agency: Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation


Title Image: NOAA Fisheries