HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hanauma Bay is getting a break from throngs of visitors ― and it shows.
University of Hawaii researchers recently discovered that the bay’s waters are about 42% clearer than they were before the attraction was closed down because of the pandemic.
The water was also 18% clearer compared to a regular Tuesday, when the bay is normally closed.
Hanauma Bay closed to the public in March and remains off limits.
The researchers measured water clarity once a week from April 21 to June 16.
“I was surprised that the preliminary data showed that the water was clearer during the COVID-19 closure when compared to closed Tuesdays,” said Sarah Severino, a research assistant at UH Manoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, in a news release.
Severino believes the water clarity improved because sand and sediment were allowed to settle.
Researchers were also collecting data on fish behavior, fish foraging rates and coral growth recruitment during the closure. They have also recorded the presence of monk seals and turtles in Hanauma Bay.
They will continue to monitor the water weekly throughout the duration of the closure.