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Coral bleaching might become worse in the future

Coral bleaching might become worse in the future

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determines that coral bleaching is taking place in West Hawaii Waters and it might become worse sooner. Warm ocean temperature is the main contributors to bleaching and data says that ocean water around Hawaii isn’t getting any cooler.

“Ocean temperatures are extremely warm right now across Hawaii. They’re about 3 degrees warmer than what we typically experience in mid-August,” NOAA scientist Jamison Gove said, “If the ocean continues to warm even further as predicted, we are likely to witness a repeat of unprecedented bleaching events in 2014 and 2015.”  The worst coral bleaching event happened in 2015 about 60% of the corals were bleached in West Hawaii with few experiencing 90% mortality.

Even though The Nature Conservancy said that corals were becoming stabilized. Nikki Sanderlin, acting aquatic biologist for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources West Hawaii district office, had difference of opinion

“We’re already observing bleaching of corals in West Hawaii, along with some paling of other species at some of our long-term monitoring sites,” she said. The aquatic biologist fear that situation might become worse in the coming years and lead to death of these corals.

“We know this bleaching event is coming and it’s probably going to be worse than the ones we experienced four and five years ago,” says Brian Neilson, Division of Aquatic Resources administration. “We’re asking for everyone’s help in trying to be proactive and to minimize any additional stress we put on our corals.”

These include a ban on touching, sitting and resting on coral while diving and snorkelling. They also urge people to use reel-safe sunscreen as chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate can harm reefs. In 2018 Kahaluu Bay found oxybenzone level 262 times higher than consider high risk by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Even the chemical-based sunscreen used on the mauka lands during sports can reach ocean water through wastewater.

Joseph Nies

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