|Source: Coral Reef Watch at NOAA|
The multi-million dollar plan will include the production of artificial wetlands along the coast, which will minimize pollution runoff from the islands. Furthermore, stricter catch limits will be put in place to help preserve as much of the coral reef ecosystem as possible.
Coral Reefs Have Been Falling Victim to Coral Bleaching Due to Increasing Water Temperatures
|Source: Climate Center at NOAA|
Pollution and Overfishing Have Been Slowing the Recovery of Bleached Coral Reefs
Runoff pollution from the Hawaiian Islands has been entering the ocean and impacting nearby coral reefs. The polluted water is making it difficult for already sick coral to recover by limiting the percent of nutrients in the water. Pollution is also killing many of the fish that live in the reef ecosystem. Some of these fish, such as the parrotfish, are vital in maintaining the health of the coral. Parrot fish, for example, have a symbiotic relationship with coral that helps sustain healthy coral reefs.
Overfishing near Hawaiian coral reefs is also contributing to the slow recovery of coral beached reefs. Fish are a crucial part of the reefs' ecosystem. The fish that live in the reef help coral thrive by eating excess algae. With less and less fish, due to overfishing in areas around the reefs, the coral reef ecosystems are not thriving as much as they used to.
The Future of Coral Reefs Does Not Look Promising Without Widespread Environmental Change
|Source: Forbes Magazine|
Coral reefs are very sensitive ecosystems and the slightest change can devastate a whole reef. Hawaii legislatures are taking steps to preserve the coral and reverse the damage as much as possible. The legislation might just be a bandaid for a bigger problem, or it could be a huge step forward in protecting coral reefs, only time will tell.