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Hawaiʻi’s Aquatic Resources Division holding virtual meetings for public input on coral reef protection November 05,2020   |  Source: Maui Now

Hawaiʻi’s Division of Aquatic Resources is holding a series of virtual meetings to compile public input on increasing the management of key herbivores to help protect and restore the stateʻs coral reefs on each island.

Sea urchins and some fish species are critical for the health of reefs, which are facing serious threats due to warming oceans and coral bleaching.

Coral reefs provide habitat for many fish that sustain Hawai‘i’s people. These reefs rely upon abundant populations of herbivores to remain healthy. Herbivores play a critical role in maintaining the delicate balance between coral and algae on reefs. Herbivorous fish and urchins graze reefs to prevent them from becoming overgrown with algae. These cleared surfaces are ideal for coral larvae to settle and grow.

Herbivorous fish are a culturally important food source. Catching and eating these fish is a part of Hawai‘i’s local culture and an important contributor to the islands’ food security. Fishing brings communities together to spend time with our friends, teach our keiki and feed our neighbors and ʻohana. Fishing also provides more than 7 million meals each year. As a primary catch for many nearshore fishers, herbivores are also economically valuable to the Main Hawaiian

 

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