Hawaii fish populations see major increases. Millions of beautiful reef fish hit Hawaii's Reefs. Hawaii's reefs are teaming with life!
News Release from LOST Fish Coalition September 2, 2014
Scuba divers and aquarium fisherman have noted throughout the islands have noticed that there has been major increases in new juvenile fish populations over the past months. Ron Tubbs on his dives covered many locations on Oahu's north, south and east shores. Other divers from Maui Kona and West Oahu also report the similar major fish population increases. It seems to be a state wide occurrence. Divers from Christmas Island also show increases too, making it a possible pacific region increase.
Ron Tubbs a long time scuba diver and aquarium fisherman explains "The reefs are full of new fish. There are more fish in nearly every location than I have ever seen before in my 35 years of diving. With most reef fish species able to produce 1 to 5 million fry per spawning the potential is always there. For all of those fish to survive to a juvenile size requires enough food supply habitat to support the large fish population increases. The aquarium fishery has always been sustainable for just this reason. The incredible recruitment this year says lots about the health of Hawaii's reefs. Hawaii's reefs are some of the best in the world and now many beautiful reef species are out there in record numbers."
Ron Tubbs said “We need to continue to do our research and find out why and how the oceans have blossomed into such a great garden teaming with amazing life”. If major fish recruitment could be recreated we could make a big difference worldwide to ocean resources.”
The NOAA research ship Hi’ialakai is on a fish counting and research trip right now heading to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. They may, in the next few months, be able to shed some light on how far does the fish bloom extend? We need to fund deep water studies too right now. Many of Hawaii’s reef fish extend it populations to much deeper depths and are able to repopulate form these depths. What are the fish populations doing for the deep water species? In October HURL (Hawaii Under Research Lab) sets out to sea and we need to make sure they get funding to gauge this incredible phenomenon. I am sure Marine Biologists across the state are interested. I have had call from one NOAA Marine Biologists asking me as a fisherman what I am seeing. Being the eyes of the sea is good for all. We need to work together as we all have the same goals, healthy fish populations.
Many years of work between the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), state marine biologists, fishermen and ocean advocates like Tina Owens have led to effective state laws protecting fish populations and many species. Hawaii’s legislature has also been proactive in managing the state fisheries creating management areas and enacting laws which may have contributed to making Hawaii's ocean team with thousands of fish. These efforts make Hawaii a great model for worldwide ocean management.
Marine Biologist and avid scuba diver Scott Folsom agrees this year's fish population increase is a significant one. It's well documented that every few years some species see significant recruitment of fish populations. This year's increase seem to encompass many species. Folsom was quoted as saying, "This is really good news to see successful recruitment across multiple species in various ecological niches. This is indicative of a healthy reef system and is a harbinger of continued healthy reefs." Weather and ocean temperatures may be the key to this year's success. The effectiveness of DLNR management and education is also a big factor. Folsom continued, "We know there have been successful management programs in other areas, such as Kona, but this really is great news for Oahu, due to the larger human population on this island. This shows that management activities have been successful, and we can effectively interact with our oceans and still maintain their health and viability long term."
There are so many ocean users, from recreational boaters and surfers, to divers and snorkelers, as well as collectors of aquarium and food fish that the sustainability of the reefs has increasingly been under scrutiny from various interests. Strategies have been as diverse and radical as no intervention to almost total bans on some activities. To address this effective management plans of DLNR and other agencies have played a large role in ensuring the health of our ocean populations for years to come, while still enable all users to enjoy their various activities. Another benefit from these plans has been public awareness. With more people being educated on our ocean environment, we are headed in the right direction for sustainability. People realize they can play an important role in helping to maintain the ocean life, so that we all may continue to enjoy and benefit from the special place that Hawaii is, for many years and future generations.
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