KAANAPALI - This month marks the five-year anniversary of the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA), a marine managed area located in North Kaanapali, implementing a first-of-its-kind fisheries management strategy.
To celebrate this area, the coral reefs it aims to protect and the broader natural environment of West Maui, a Ridge to Reef Celebration and Fifth Birthday Bash will take place on Saturday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to noon at Kahekili Beach Park (Old Airport Beach) in North Kaanapali.
Transportation for seniors to the event from Central and West Maui locations is being provided by Kaunoa Senior Center; call 661-9432 to sign up.
As a tribute to the uhu, manini and other limu-eating herbivores of North Kaanapali, Seaweed Eating Competition participants will chow down on seaweed salad in a race to see who is the fastest human herbivore. Entry space is limited; five males and five females will compete for the title. To enter, e-mail Lfoote@coral.org.
The KHFMA was designed to enhance the population of herbivores - animals that eat seaweed, such as surgeonfish, parrotfish and sea urchins - in the area to reduce excess algae and improve coral health. Because the managed area is just one aspect that can contribute to a healthy ocean, this annual event now has a "Ridge to Reef" theme.
The jam-packed, family-friendly event will feature an ocean-themed Culinary Contest, Hawaii's second annual Seaweed Eating Competition, a reef snorkel tour with ocean experts, the Great Annual Fish Count, water quality sampling, a CFL exchange, interactive learning activities for keiki, T-shirt giveaway, potluck and more.
Prizes have been donated by local businesses and restaurants. Participants can earn multiple chances to win by participating in the various activities. The event will be emceed by Chef Lyndon Honda of Laulima Events and Catering by Po'okela Group.
The day will showcase the many ways individuals can take action on land and in the water to reduce the threats to our reefs. Event hosts include the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, Division of Aquatic Resources, Kaanapali Makai Watch and the West Maui Kumuwai campaign.