HI - Study: Marine-management areas can restore state’s depleted fisheries By Jessica Else The Garden Isla
LIHU‘E — A recent comprehensive study has found Hawai‘i’s nearshore waters need more effective management, and that a diverse, integrated system of marine-management areas can help restore the state’s declining coral-reef fisheries and boost the resilience of coral reefs in a changing climate.
Well-designed marine-management areas are a proven tool that can restore coral-reef fisheries, increase coastal protection and provide recreational, cultural and economic opportunities, the study concludes.
The study found that while Hawai‘i has many marine-management areas, most are too small and allow some form of human use within their boundaries that can limit their ability to restore depleted fisheries.
“We need to improve the marine-management areas we already have and effectively manage additional areas if we are to protect and restore Hawai‘i’s unique and valuable marine environment,” said University of Hawai‘i fisheries researcher Dr. Alan Friedlander, the study’s lead author.
“That includes setting aside some areas where fishing is prohibited, because we know that replenishes fish stocks. It also includes areas where the state co-manages resources with coastal communities that want to implement more-sustainable, traditional management practices,” he said.
The study provides critical information for the state’s initiative to effectively manage 30% of Hawai‘i’s nearshore waters by 2030.