Kahoolawe's ocean thriving with sea life

Dean Tokishi
Dean Tokishi
Lyman Abbott
Lyman Abbott

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

KAHOOLAWE (KHNL) - Kahoolawe is an island of extremes. But one area is thriving and is full of life and hope for all of Hawaii.

Much of Kahoolawe is barren, eroded and windswept, scarred from years of bombing.  It's a constant struggle to bring back life here.

But in the island's crystal clear waters, it is a different story. Playful pods of in every morning, just some of the marine life you all find. Plentiful corals pack the waters, which are also full of fish. In fact, there are too many fish.

"Fish populations are reaching saturation in the reserve and they are leaving the reserve and that is helping to reseed and stock our neighboring waters," said Dean Tokishi, an ocean resources specialist.

In these tranquil, protected waters, fish grow bigger because of the abundance of food, and lack of predators. But that doesn't t mean these inviting bays are without hazards.

"During the cleanup, no clean up was done in the water."

So a refreshing dive, is filled with risk.

"Coming in contact with the bottom, what may look like crusted over part of reef could actually be ordnance."

Like this large shell sitting out on the ocean floor, another danger to this vibrant ecosystem comes from Kahoolawe itself.

"The soil erosion that takes place on land eventually ends up on the near shore ocean environment on the reefs," said Lyman Abbott, a natural resources specialist.

Runoff turns the blue waters murky and ruins the reefs, but an even bigger threat comes from man. Trash thrown into the ocean, washes onto the shores.  This serene waterscape is also in danger from poachers.

"People might want to poach because there aren t resources outside anymore, even more so the need for resources to reseed and repopulate and rehabilitate those areas that have been depleted."

Keeping these waters protected and pristine means the future of fishing in the islands will be brighter. All because of the healing of Kahoolawe.

"It's helping not you not me but our children's children."

While there is a lot going on, in the waters, there is also increased activity on Kahoolawe.