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Public workshop planned for day-use mooring buoys

By Staff | Sep 3, 2009

KIHEI — The state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Malama Kai Foundation seek public input to help develop the first ten-year Day-Use Mooring Buoy Plan for the main Hawaiian Islands. 

The Maui workshop will be held Monday, Sept. 21, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary office at 726 S. Kihei Road.

Day-use moorings are used around the world as an effective method to protect coral reefs. They are installed in areas where boats or other craft regularly go to dive or snorkel.

 When moorings are installed, boaters no longer need to drop an anchor, which protects Hawaii’s precious living corals from anchor damage, DLNR noted.

Hawaii’s day-use mooring buoy system was started in 1986 by dive operators on Hawaii Island. Today there are 175 day-use moorings installed and in use around the state.

“We are looking to develop a sustainable long-term strategy to help protect Hawaii’s precious living coral from anchor damage. One way to address this is to effectively install, manage and fund a statewide day-use mooring system at sites where vessel activity occurs on a regular basis,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson. 

“We need public input to help us identify such things as: where are boats anchoring on a regular basis? Are there day-use moorings at these sites? Are there sufficient moorings or too many? Where will boating and anchoring activity increase, and where will day-use moorings be needed over the next 10 years?”

Workshop participants will also be invited to provide suggestions for funding and managing the statewide program, rule changes, and ways to maintain the moorings to protect coral reefs and meet the needs of ocean users.

“Protecting coral reefs is vitally important to Hawaii’s marine environment. Day-use moorings have been very effective in reducing or eliminating damage from anchors,” said Terry O’Halloran, project coordinator for the Malama Kai Foundation. “Anyone who has knowledge of, or interest in, day-use mooring activities is encouraged to participate in the workshops.”

Information is posted at www.malama-kai.org and http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/chair/pio/nr/2008/N8-271.pdf.