Super Sucker Junior Battles Algae

Peter Young
Peter Young

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The state unveiled a new tool to help protect our marine environment.

"Super Sucker Junior" is battling algae, which is smothering some of Hawaii's coral reefs.

"It can be a very big problem and we're very concerned about it," said Peter Young with the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources.

It works like an underwater vaccuum, sucking up invasive alien algae and pumping it out in bags.

"By taking the algae away we can allow the reef to continue to grow and corals continue to grow and they don't get smothered by the invasive algae, that's the problem.," said Young.

Once divers remove the algae, they give it to taro farmers, who use it as fertilizer.

Last year, the state unveiled Super Sucker Senior, which is battling the problem in Kaneohe Bay.

Super Sucker Junior is half the size of Super Sucker Senior. The new barge can get to areas, the older tool can't get to.

"Senior can remove about 800 pounds per hour and 3,000 pounds in a workday," said Eric Conklin, who's with the Nature Conservancy.

He says this new, $50,000 tool may be able to do the same. The underwater vaccuum will be used in Waikiki, but there's already talk of sending it to the Neighbor Islands to help protect their marine life.