Current Event: Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Threatened

Hawaii’s coral reefs make up 85% of the United States’ coral reefs and they are currently under threat. Overfishing, chemical runoff, climate change, urbanization, and soil erosion are a few of the factors that are threatening the coral reefs. Fishing is a common career and hobby for Hawaiian citizens as well as tourists and could lead to a crash in the marine ecosystem. Fishing out of season and without a license negatively impact the marine ecosystem because killing juvenile fish means they cannot replenish their population. It doesn’t help that even when fishing is in season fisherman under-report their catches.

Chemical runoff occurs from fertilizers and pesticides put on crops and grass. When it rains these chemicals then runoff into the ocean. The chemicals increase the acidity of the ocean and subsequently kill the coral and threaten the wildlife.

Climate change is causing an increase in the Earth’s temperature. This means ocean’s water temperatures are increasing also. Coral are sensitive to the increased temperature and are dying off in the warmest parts of the ocean.

Urbanization and soil erosion cause increasing amount of sediments to enter the ocean. The sediment then ruins the water quality, which also threatens the livelihood of the coral.

Obviously, the coral reefs of Hawaii face many threats. Solutions include stricter regulations of fishing and use of chemicals like fertilizer, reduced carbon emissions, and a current-generator of some kind to flush the water near the coral reef of sediment. More information on these threats can be found here and here.

Also, I am state chair of Hawaii for Mock Convention this Friday. We are looking to amend part of the Republicans platform to help protect the coral reefs. So if anyone else is participating we will probably need signatures to support our amendment!

-Shannon

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