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Coral Reefs: Hawaii Assembling Management Plan in Response to Bleaching

Nov 17, 2015 06:28 PM EST

Hawaii is gathering information for a state coral reef management program, in response to mass coral bleaching over the past two years, the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) recently announced in a release.

In working toward a comprehensive plan, the DLNR will identify steps to best ascertain that local reefs are as healthy and resilient as they can be, in order to increase the chances of recovery. They'll also discuss the State Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC)'s recent request for a temporary halt on extraction of aquarium fish for commercial uses, in response to the bleaching, the release confirmed.

So far, the DLNR has said that extracting aquarium fish does not significantly impact the reef health, however.
"We don't have science showing a strong nexus right now between aquarium fish trade collecting and the health of our coral reefs," State Department of Land and Natural Resources chair Suzanne Case said in an Associated Press article. But she noted that the management plan's data-gathering will help address that issue, stated the article. 

An aquatic biologist with the state of Hawaii, William Walsh, said that parrot fish -- among the grazing and excavating fish that help reefs -- are more rarely taken for aquariums. He said "Banning aquarium collecting would have zero effect" on the reefs, as the AP article confirmed.

Ruth Gates, director of the University of Hawaii's Institute of Marine Biology, also said that there is not a strong link between the aquarium trade and the bleaching that occurs in Hawaii's area, said the AP article.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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