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Ridge to Reef Rendezvous serves up fun with a side of education

By Staff | Jul 23, 2015

The Ocean-Themed Culinary Contest welcomes any type of edible creation with a sea theme.

KAANAPALI – Join the Ridge to Reef Rendezvous on Saturday, July 25, at Kahekili Beach Park (Old Airport Beach) in North Kaanapali. This free event open to the public features something for everyone.

Come on down for fun chances to learn something new, get involved in ridge to reef stewardship in West Maui and take home some conservation-themed giveaways and prizes. This family-friendly community event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, with an 8 a.m. check-in time for the papio fishing tournament (details below). Arrive early to receive a free T-shirt or hat, plus other giveaways from event conservation partners.

July 25 marks the sixth anniversary of the establishment of the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA), a marine managed area in North Kaanapali that protects key species of herbivores – limu (algae) eaters – such as uhu (parrotfishes), surgeonfishes, nenue and urchins. These species are valued for their ecological service to the reef of grazing; by eating the algae and keeping it from dominating the coral, they help improve the reef’s resilience in the face of the many other stressors that threaten it, particularly the impact of excessive nutrient runoff from land.

After five years of protecting herbivores (while still allowing access and fishing for other species), the KHFMA is showing “encouraging early results,” according to researchers and resource managers, whose studies have shown an increase in the biomass of parrotfishes and surgeonfishes along with a stabilization in coral cover.

Such results, while promising, also underscore the need for sustained protection going hand-in-hand with community awareness and support, in order to ensure that the full positive benefits of this type of management will be realized in the long term.

Into a little gentle competition? Two contests, open to all, headline the Ridge to Reef Rendezvous: an Ocean-Themed Culinary Contest, now in its fourth year as part of this celebration; and for the first time, a catch and release papio fishing tournament. The papio tournament is focused on safe and pono (responsible) fishing practices. Prizes will be awarded based on photos taken by participants as well as a random drawing. Check-in time for the tournament is 8 a.m.

The culinary contest features any type of edible creation with an ocean theme. Entries must be checked in no later than 9:15 a.m. Judging by event-goers is based on appearance (with prizes awarded based on scores) plus a bonus random drawing. Following judging, culinary contest entries will be eaten, along with the generous donations of food for the event provided by The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Sangrita Grill & Cantina, and C.J’s Deli & Diner. For culinary contest inspiration, check out past entries on Kaanapali Makai Watch’s Facebook page.

Like green giveaways? West Maui Kumuwai will be handing out non-toxic and biodegradable cleaners to promote ocean-friendly behaviors on land, such as better ways to clean your ride. The best choice is to visit a commercial car wash, which uses less water than home washing, plus treats the wash water that is used. For some, washing a car at home is preferable, so reduce polluted runoff impacts by washing it on a lawn and using environmentally-friendly cleaners. This is an easy way to reduce contaminents reaching the ocean via storm drains. Thanks to the County of Maui Department of Water Supply, you can save water while washing your car at home by using a free self-closing hose nozzle (county residents only). A limited supply of these nozzles, and other water-efficiency devices and fixtures provided by the county, will be given away during the event.

Do you have a curious mind? Learn about the research projects behind the KHFMA and watershed efforts at the “Stump (and Soak) a Scientist” station. Participants ask questions to a half-dozen scientists to win a shot with a soggy sponge ball. Prepare to be entertained and educated!

Questions for scientists can be submitted in advance through the Kaanapali Makai Watch Facebook page or by using the hashtag #MauiRidge2Reef.

Like your fish fresh with a side of green? Resorts and restaurants in Kaanapali are invited to take part in the event’s first-ever Limu Poke Challenge by bringing limu poke to event-goers to sample. The only catch is the dish cannot be made from an herbivorous species of fish (such as nenue). Event-goers will decide which resort’s limu poke is the best using the hashtag #MauiPokeChallenge. The winner will earn unlimited bragging rights and be featured in social media promotion of the event’s outcomes.

For more information, visit the Kaanapali Makai Watch Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KaanapaliMakaiWatch, e-mail KaanapaliMakaiWatch@gmail.com or call 669-9062.