SOEST News, first published July 18, 2023.
A local ʻohana of like-minded ocean lovers, scientists, water enthusiasts and fishers launched Fish Pono—Save Our Reefs, a public education campaign with the vision of bringing awareness to the importance of replenishing herbivore fish populations to foster healthy coral reefs.
Five University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty, staff and alumni are supporting this effort. Fish Pono scientific advisors include Alan Friedlander and Kawika Winter of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, Mark Hixon of the School of Life Sciences, as well as alumnus Randy Kosaki of the NOAA Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Photography on the Fish Pono website was provided by UH alumnus Jeff Kuwabara, who directs the UH Mānoa Marine Option Program, and waterman Keoki Stender.
When herbivores—our reef’s lawnmowers—such as uhu (parrotfishes), nenue (chubs), kala, kole, manini, other surgeonfishes and sea urchins are in low abundance, coral reefs are overgrown with seaweeds and begin to suffocate and die. These ever-important lawnmowers, especially the uhu, must be abundant and thriving for seaweeds to remain in check, our corals to survive and flourish, and our beaches to get their essential, desperately needed sand (uhu poop sand).
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