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Snorkel Bob Talk Tonight: An Ocean that Keeps On Giving

October 29, 2014, 7:04 AM HST · Updated October 29, 8:42 AM
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Guest Speaker Robert Wintner. Courtesy photo MBB.

Guest Speaker Robert Wintner. Courtesy photo MBB.

By Maui Now Staff

A talk story session on coral reef protection will be held tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in South Maui.

The talk entitled “An Ocean that Keeps On Giving” will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Fairmont Kea Lani, and is hosted by the Maui Business Brainstormers group.

Robert Wintner, also known as “Snorkel Bob” will discuss how a healthy coral reef system is relevant to the health of the Maui economy and island businesses.

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Wintner is the executive director of The Snorkel Bob Foundation, and owner of the largest reef outfitter and the only snorkel and fin manufacturing company in Hawaiʻi, according to an event announcement.

The marine life enthusiast is also the author of several fiction and non-fiction books about Hawaiʻi marine life, and an active member of Hawaiʻi’s conservation community.

Photo Caption: Robert Wintner meets MBB organizers

Photo Caption: Robert Wintner meets MBB organizers. Courtesy photo.

“More than half the tourists who visit Hawaiʻi participate in reef activities. As reef fish populations decrease, a main attraction to the islands diminishes. All businesses on Maui feel the impact, whether they are directly or indirectly related to ocean activities,” said Wintner in an organization press release.

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According to Wintner, reef fish populations in Hawaiʻi have dramatically decreased over the years from three main causes: gill netting; nitrogen pollution and other runoff; and aquarium trade extraction.

He praised the Maui County Council for enacting ordinances in 2010 to legalize the business side of aquarium collecting, thus driving most collectors out of Maui County.   Robert credits the County Council for revitalization on Maui and Lānaʻi reefs in just four years. Populations of yellow tangs and other species of fish, he said, have grown exponentially.

Having witnessed reef fish restoration in other countries, Wintner said political will is critical. “We live in the only State surrounded by coral reefs, so we can’t afford to elect candidates who don’t know Hawaiʻi’s reef issues or don’t understand reef value – economically, culturally and environmentally.”

The talk is open to the public.  Admission is $10 for MBB members with online RSVP; and $20 for non-members.

Light pupus and complimentary self-parking is included.

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