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School of fish above a coral colony in Hawaii. Credit: NOAA

NCCOS Assessment Supports Effective Management of Hawaii’s Nearshore Waters

Published on: 05/03/2018
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology
Region(s) of Study: U.S. States and Territories / Hawaii

Human activities are threatening the health and function of the State of Hawaii’s coral reefs, which provide economic benefits estimated at over $360 million each year. At least 30 percent of Hawaii’s nearshore reefs must remain healthy to sustain similar amounts of productivity in the future. In response, the State of Hawaii has committed to reaching “30 by 30” and effectively manage 30 percent of their state waters by the year 2030. Effective management aims to balance restoration and conservation measures with sustainable uses and practical governance. Recently, the State of Hawaii’s Department of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has started the process of identifying which nearshore areas should be targeted and set aside for effective management. GIS datasets developed by NCCOS are proving to be a critical part of these analyses, and are actively being used to optimize the selection of these new management areas. These GIS datasets were developed as part of the Marine Biogeographic Assessment of the Main Hawaiian Islands, which was funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). NCCOS will meet with DAR in May as this process continues to move forward.

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