Permit Sought for Urchin Studies off Maui
By Wendy Osher
Researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are requesting permits to conduct underwater studies of various urchin species within the Kahekili Herbivore Management Area on Maui.
One study involves the use of time lapse digital imaging; Another study involves holding the urchins for 24 hours in cages to determine how much algae they consume. Researchers plan to return the live urchins upon conclusion of their studies.
The item will be reviewed at week’s meeting of the Board of Land and Natural Resources on Thursday, June 23, at 9 a.m.at the Kalanimoku Building, Land Board Conference Room 132, in Honolulu.
Rules prohibiting the take of certain herbivorous fishes (such as surgeonfishes, parrotfishes, rudderfishes) and sea urchins from the Kahekili area, were implemented in July 2009.
Kahekili Herbivore Management Area includes a stretch of nearshore waters in West Maui from Keka’a Point near the Sheraton Resort to Honokowai Park to the north. The rule is intended to maintain the population of algae-eating fish and sea urchins that help to control overgrowth and degradation of coral reefs.
The state Division of Aquatic Resources concluded that the project will have minimal or no adverse impacts and is recommending exemption of the applicant from having to prepare an environmental assessment.