FLIBS 2019
Olowalu Reef

Olowalu Reef

The Olowalu reef is Maui’s “crown jewel,” a one thousand-acre coral reef that is home to the largest known manta ray population in the U.S. (430 individuals), and the oldest coral in the main Hawaiian Islands. In Hawaiian history, Olowalu was known as a Pu'uhonua (sanctuary) where people could take refuge and get away to reflect and heal. Unfortunately, the oldest coral aged in the Main Hawaiian Islands is nearly 90% dead, sighting rates for manta rays have dropped by 90% in the past 10 years and nearly 50% of the reefs suffered bleaching in 2015. Given the rapidly declining resources locally and globally, the Olowalu community, in concert with many local partnerships, has taken the initiative to restore the balance that has been lost between people and nature. The local Hope Spot community, led by Mark H. Deakos, Ph.D. Executive Director and Chief Scientist of the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, is confident that Olowalu will rise again as a Pu'uhonua through the revival of ancient traditional land and ocean management practices.
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