Reefs going unprotected

coral_080707

Abused coral reefs and their inhabitants can come back. It takes time, but if protected they can return to their natural glory. Hanauma Bay on Oahu is a good example.

The bay, cut off from Hawaii Kai by tall, caldera walls, is tightly controlled. Visitors are limited to a certain number each day and must go through an information center before hitting the beach.

At the center, the visitors are instructed in the importance of not standing or touching the living coral, and told they are prohibited from feeding the fish, taking fish from the bay, smoking on the beach or driving their car to the beachfront.

The result is the ocean in the bay is clear, reefs have regenerated and there are more than 200 varieties of sea creatures at home in the bay.

Forty years ago, Hanauma Bay was declared the state