Locally, there have been many instances around the islands of damage to reefs. Fish abundance, a
critical factor in maintaining healthy reefs, has also declined by 75% since the 1900s in Hawai‘i. Even a
careless snorkeler or boat owner can damage a reef, as the outside layer of the corals is interconnected
live tissue. Damage is easily done by any blunt force, such as standing, touching or dropping a big
anchor onto a reef. In short, they are fragile ecosystems trying to survive out in a blue desert.
Fortunately, there is much we can do to keep our reefs healthy. The first and most important step
is education. Learn more about the reefs and your impact on them—our grandchildren’s children will
thank us for that. When in the water, don’t stand on or touch corals or other reef organisms. Allow as
much time as possible between applying sunscreen and entering the water, as the chemicals in them
may be harmful to the reef. Take only pictures; leave only bubbles and waste only time when out on
the reef. Feeding fish, taking home “treasures,” and not disposing of trash properly are all detrimental
to the reefs and their inhabitants. Consider the chemicals you use at home and in your daily life. If it
goes down the drain, fertilizes the lawn or golf course, or spills on the driveway it all ends up in the
ocean. The list goes on, but you get the picture. Being respectful of our natural resources will ensure
they are there when we need them.
The best way to really gain respect and appreciation for the reefs is to experience them for yourself.
All across Kaua‘i are wonderful places to spend some face time with the corals. Some of the best
accessible reefs are nearby, where you are likely to see an abundance of reef creatures and reef life
playing out below and around you. Know ocean safety and study conditions prior to entry. Practice
good common sense and reef etiquette for nature’s sake.
THE ST. REGIS PRINCEVILLE
THE FIFFIIRST CORAL REEF
ETIQUETTE SIGN ON KAUA‘I.
DONATED BY THE HANALEI
WATERSHED HUI AND THE
CORAL REEF ALLIANCE,
THE SIGN CAN BE FOUND
AT BEACH SIDE FRONTING
HONOIKI REEF. TAKE TIME
TO READ THIS IMPORTANT
INFORMATION PRIOR TO
YOUR OCEAN ADVENTURE!