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Polanui Hiu creates Ocean Friendly Guide to protect our coral reefs

By Staff | Sep 19, 2019

Pictured at their Sept. 7 gathering, Polanui Hiu CMMA marine conservationists meet on the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon.

LAHAINA – Founded in October 2010, Polanui Hiu enters its ninth year with a community offering: an Ocean Friendly Guide with the following message: “E Ola Ke Kai, E Ola Kakou (As the ocean thrives, so do we).”

It’s a work of environmental intent produced by Polanui Hiu and designed by Alana Yurkanin of The Nature Conservancy.

Its aim is to protect, respect and steward our coral reefs as well as offer ocean safety rules.

The ocean safety instructions are well-publicized, but coral reef and marine care tips merit repeating.

1) Enter and exit the water using sand channels; 2) Do not feed marine life; 3) Pack out more trash than you pack in; 4) Never stand on or strike the coral; 5) Use mineral-based “reef-safe” sunscreens; and 6) Swim slowly, relax and keep a safe distance from marine life.

Polanui Hiu, located in the nearshore waters off of south Lahaina, is one of six Maui networking CMMAs (Community Managed Makai Area groups).

Open to all, Polanui Hiu is a fellowship of like-minded, modern day sea shepherds with a vision: “The waters of Polanui are thriving with an abundance of native fishes and limu. The community is empowered through aloha to malama Na Papalimu ‘O Pi’ilani and ho’omau in our traditions for future generations.”

According to its website, polanuihiu.com, “The project area extends from the high water mark to 70 feet in depth and from Makila Point to the punawai (water spring) fronting 505 Front Street. The area encompasses 222 acres of sandy and rocky beach and fringing and patch coral reefs. This area is small enough to be manageable by the community group and large enough to show biological gains under the appropriate strategies.”

The marine conservationists meet monthly on the first Saturday at the Lindsey Family sanctuary, 333 Front St., from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Its latest accomplishment is the two-page Ocean Friendly Guide.

Edwin “Ekolu” Lindsey is the po’o of the West Side CMMA.

Each gathering is a different ecological, educational and cultural adventure.

“We had a good diversity of people that showed up on Saturday (Sept. 7),” Lindsey observed.

“There were 16 of us. Snake Ah Hee represented the generation above me. It was awesome to have his input. We had surf schools, educators, scientists, fishermen, commercial boaters and a seventh-grader from Lahaina Intermediate School.”

Po Kaikilani Mari Panis-Colorado attends the meeting with mom Chyna Colorado.

The 13-year-old values the opportunity.

“It is important for young people to participate, because they are able to learn about the ocean and land – because the land is connected to the ocean through the rivers and streams – and how to take care of it,” Panis-Colorado said.

Chyna earned her degree from Oregon State University in Natural Resource Policy and embraces the experience.

“Attending the Polanui Hiu meetings, you’re outside steps away from the waters that we’re trying to protect. You are greeted with hugs and a pule, followed by introductions – starts every meeting. You are invited to learn, share your experiences and opinions in a diverse group with a common goal. Leaving the meeting, you feel you made a real contribution,” she said.

Patrick Grady has been immersed in the waters off the Lindsey home since he and Ekolu were kids. Grady has been a boat captain since 1991.

“I’ve worked both harbors, Lahaina and Maalaea. I (currently) drive the Pride of Maui in Maalaea,” Grady said.

He has been a seven-year, hands-on advocate of Ekolu’s project, “whether it’s in the ocean with the reefs or in educating teachers, students and people in the customer service industry.”

The volunteer social media coordinator is Lisa Agdeppa. She is a busy and dedicated person, helping to maintain their communications: www.polanuihiu.com, www.facebook.com/polanuihiucmma/, and www.instagram.com/polanuihiu/.

She is steadfast, she exclaimed, “for my children and future generations.”

Her current task is the distribution of the Ocean Friendly Guide.

“Anyone can download it from our website, polanuihiu.com,” she said.

“We hope this information helps keep everyone safe, our cultural resources utilized respectfully and our visitors filled with aloha in their hearts to share around the world,” Lindsey affirmed.

Marine enthusiasts are encouraged to take the Maui Pono Pledge “to conduct yourself in a pono (righteous) way to convey your respect for Maui’s people, culture and environment.”