Hawaii Public Radio, first published January 30, 2023.
The University of Hawai‘i Institute for Marine Biology is winding up a five-year visitor capacity study on Hanauma Bay on Oʻahu.
Researchers are comparing data from before, during and after the ninth-month closure from March to December 2020 during the pandemic.
“We were really lucky because when they reopened the bay, they opened at 25% capacity of what it had been in 2019 numbers. And then they gradually increased to 50% capacity,” said Ku’ulei Rodgers from the Coral Reef Ecology Lab. “So we were able to see what the differences were.”
She said there were fewer fish as the number of people increased, but the biggest difference was the water quality.
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