Maui News

Learn About Sea Urchin Aquaculture during Next Know Your Ocean Speaker Series May 12

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Sea urchins are known for being natural “algae-munchers,” which help conserve Hawaiʻi’s coral reefs. Photo Courtesy: Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

Want to learn how sea urchin aquaculture is helping to conserve Hawaiʻi’s coral reefs? Join the next “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series” event, a free Zoom presentation on Wednesday, May 12 at 5:30 pm.

The guest speaker will be David L. Cohen, who manages the sea urchin hatchery on Oahu for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi’s Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PSCU). 

David L. Cohen, Manager of Sea Urchin Hatchery on Oahu

The event is called: “Aquaculture of Native Sea Urchins to Control Invasive Macroalgae.”


The Hawaiian collector sea urchins raised in the hatchery are known for being natural “algae-munchers.” Raising urchins is a long process. Learn about it through this fascinating presentation. 

Reserve your spot at the free presentation at 

Cohen holds a Bachelor of Science in General Biology from Connecticut State University. From 1985 to 1992, Cohen worked in shellfish aquaculture and as a commercial oysterman in New England. Since moving to Hawaiʻi, he has grown food fish and shrimp and worked with captive bred ornamental fish.


In 2010, he started work with PCSU and DAR to develop hatchery methods to grow native sea urchins to control non-native invasive macroalgae. The hatchery continues to produce urchins in support of coral restoration, and Cohen said he continues to learn about the ways in which “aquaculture can produce food; enrich our lives; and help restore the environment.”

An overgrowth of seaweed can block sunlight that corals need to live, making it difficult for the reef and other marine life to survive, which is why projects like these are essential. DAR, NOAA Fisheries and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have been working together to clean up the reef in areas at Kane’ohe Bay since 2011. It takes about four months for tiny sea urchin larvae to grow to the size needed before being transferred to the bay. 

The event’s emcee will be Darla Palmer-Ellingson, local radio show host of the public affairs program, Island Environment 360 on the stations of H-Hawaiʻi Media. This event is supported by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.



Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments