Environmental scientist Greg Asner was conducting coral surveys in West Hawai‘i during the 2019 heat wave when he found an illegal mooring weighted down by five 5-gallon buckets filled with cement and chained together. The makeshift weight system was “steamrolling” the coral on the sea floor.
Asner visited the site again this week. The coral had not recovered.
“It’s pulverized,” said Asner, who has dedicated years of research to the health of coral around Hawai‘i Island. “That kind of thing is disheartening and solvable.”
For 120 miles along the West Hawaiʻi coastline, from ‘Upolu Point to South Point, fragments of coral large and small are broken every day by big winter swells, rising ocean temperatures, illegal anchor drops, and legal and illegal moorings. The dislodged pieces of coral are left for dead.
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