The Short Story
In addition to our efforts to improve sustainability in the marine tourism sector, CORAL's work in Hawaii has included a number of initiatives to involve broader segments of the local community in coral reef conservation. We have helped to develop online tools that facilitate and encourage citizen participation in reef monitoring, and have sponsored programs to educate and excite local youth about their coral reefs. Based on the success of the voluntary standards developed for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, CORAL has also been working to develop and implement voluntary standards in West Hawaii. We have established the CORAL Reef Leadership Network to provide ongoing training for marine recreation providers, education programs for tourists, and increased protection for Marine Life Conservation Districts on Maui. Funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has allowed us to expand our projects along the coast of West Hawaii. Planning has begun for our next phase of work, which includes more standards testing, engaging the cruise ship sector in training focused on sustainable practices, and strategic support for the managed marine areas on Maui and Hawaii to create level-four Coral Reef Sustainable Destinations (CRSD) across the two islands.
More Progress in Hawaii
After more than a year of development, review, and revision by a CORAL-facilitated taskforce of local stakeholders, four voluntary standards for marine tourism were successfully balloted in West Hawaii in the summer of 2009. The standards for SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling, General Boating, Wildlife Interactions, and Shoreline Activities are now being implemented and evaluated. More »
CORAL has also developed the Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal, which provides a one-stop shop for volunteers to enter data for a variety of community-based monitoring protocols. This online resource supports ongoing volunteer monitoring efforts while increasing public involvement, awareness, and a sense of stewardship around Hawaii's coral reefs and marine environment. Visit the monitoring portal »
CORAL worked with a number of conservation partners including the State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources and Project S.E.A.-Link to launch the successful Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding education and awareness campaign, which is designed to eliminate the feeding of reef fish and the sale of fish food. The campaign created an outpouring of support from local businesses and members of the community; and more than thirty Hawaii-based marine recreation providers across the state have pledged their support. Furthermore, three of the state's largest commercial retailers have agreed to discontinue the sale of snorkeling fish food in all of their stores across the state. CORAL’s members sent notes of thanks to these businesses to encourage their continued support of sustainable tourism practices. More »
CORAL and its many local partners have launched the Respecting Coral Reefs sign project. The interpretive signs, which are “adopted” by local businesses and placed in heavily-visited areas, teach visitors and residents alike how to respect and protect delicate coral reef ecosystems. The success of the sign project on Maui has led to its expansion throughout the state of Hawaii. The environmentally responsible and informative signs are also available in a poster form for display by local businesses, organizations, and schools. More »