Maui News

Rule Changes Proposed to Address Overcrowding at Molokini

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Input on overcrowding impacts at Molokini, a popular destination for snorkeling and dive tours off Maui, was heard at a public scoping meeting last night.

State officials are floating proposed rule changes for Molokini, which attracted more than 360,000 snorkelers and divers last year. Department officials say evidence suggests that some marine predators are being displaced by high human use.

A reef predator movement study in 2016 found that 50% of omilu (a key nearshore reef predator) were displaced outside of the shallow crater into deeper water when the number of boats exceeded 12.

The Marine Life Conservation District at Molokini was first established in 1977 as a highly unique offshore islet with a very healthy and intact coral reef ecosystem. In 1995, rules were amended to limit commercial permits and prevent future uncontrolled growth of commercial tours. Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources say its been nearly 25 years since a serious review or adjustment of rules.

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