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Ridge to Reef Rendezvous highlights local marine conservation efforts

By Staff | Aug 4, 2016

Pono fishing practices will be highlighted through demonstrations and activities for keiki.

KAANAPALI – Join in the Ridge to Reef Rendezvous on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon at Kahekili Beach Park (Old Airport Beach) in North Kaanapali. This fun, family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

Arrive early to receive a free T-shirt and other giveaways from conservation partners.

Rescheduled from July 23, this annual event marks the seventh year since the establishment of the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA), and through the years has expanded to focus more broadly on watershed-scale conservation themes – the things that any Maui resident can do to help our coral reefs and fisheries, from both land and the ocean, mauka to makai.

To help share these messages in fun and interactive ways, many groups will be on-hand at the event, all part of the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative Hui.

Pono fishing practices will be highlighted, through demonstrations and activities for keiki, with the Maui Nui Makai Network, Polanui Hiu, Division of Aquatic Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, and NOAA Fisheries.

For those who would like to check out the reef with experts, the Maui Fish Identification Network is hosting the 15th Great Annual Fish Count, or join a guided tour of Kahekili Reef (for proficient snorkelers bringing their own gear and any minors to be accompanied by an adult).

Attendees are also invited to check in at a sunscreen sustainability station, where they can learn what ingredients to look out for to ensure their personal care products are less harmful to coral reefs, and get a recipe to make their own more reef-friendly sunscreen.

New this year is an Ocean-Friendly Business recognition ceremony, featuring West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran presiding as emcee.

Cochran said that “the small decisions that we make on a daily basis, as individuals, business owners and public servants, affect the health of our oceans. How we use pesticides and care for our land, how we produce and distribute food, how much garbage we use and how we dispose of it; these are all things that have a huge cumulative impact on our oceans.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this event that recognizes small businesses who have made a commitment to be better stewards of our ocean. Working on the White House National Ocean Council Governance Coordinating Committee has made me realize that small, localized action has big impacts on a global level. This is how we take care of our oceans: one person, one business, one decision at a time.”

The ceremony will honor businesses that have taken West Maui Kumuwai’s Ocean-Friendly Landscaper or Property Pledges, members of Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean-Friendly Restaurant program, and tour operators certified through the Hawaii Ecotourism Association’s Sustainable Tour Operator program.

Following the ceremony, food will be shared with event attendees, provided through generous donations by CJ’s Deli & Diner, Sangrita Grill, and the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas.

Like great prizes? Enter the ocean-themed culinary contest, with entries judged solely on appearance by fellow event-goers, or complete a scavenger hunt by visiting the outreach booths.

According to Tova Callender, West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative Watershed and Coastal Management coordinator, “This isn’t your usual rubber-stamp outreach event scavenger hunt; we are planning to amplify and share some key messages and the latest science through a story, ‘Finding Tory,’ an uhu who is confused about what’s happening to her home reef in West Maui.”

Over $1,500 in prizes, primarily gift certificates for food and activities, have been generously donated by local Maui businesses, including Trilogy Excursions, Kohola Brewery, The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Teralani Sailing, Boss Frog’s, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, Aloha Mixed Plate, The Snorkel Store, Maui Surfboards, Kohola Gallery & Gifts, Atlantis Adventures Hawaii, Maui Ocean Center, Round Table Pizza, Sea House Restaurant, Mahana Boutique, and Body in Balance.

For more information on the event, including the schedule, guidelines for the culinary contest and complete lists of participating groups, sponsors and Ocean-Friendly businesses to be honored, visit the Kaanapali Makai Watch Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ KaanapaliMakaiWatch, or contact event organizer Liz Foote at (808) 669-9062 or lfoote@hawaii.rr.com.