Report: Hawaii’s coral reefs in ‘fair’ condition, face serious threats

Report: Hawaii’s coral reefs in ‘fair’ condition, face serious threats
A mass coral bleaching event in 2014 and 2015 led to extensive mortality among Hawaii's coral reefs. (Source: DLNR)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s coral reefs are currently in “fair” condition, according to a status report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Looking at coral reefs near the Main Hawaiian Islands as well as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the report found that climate conditions — temperature stress and ocean acidification — are some of the biggest factors contributing to the health of the coral reef.

The report points to the widespread bleaching event in 2014 and 2015, which led to extensive coral reef mortality.

And as temperatures rise over time, events like this and other climate change impacts — including sea level rise, disease outbreak and reduced coral growth — will further threaten coral reefs.

Climate models show as the earth warms, consecutive coral bleaching events will be expected every year by 2055.

Other factors harming coral reefs: overfishing and land-based sources of pollution, which can in turn can affect the reef fish population.

The report notes that reef fish populations are depleted as these factors continue to pose threats.

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