Contributors: Kosta Stamoulis, Paolo Usseglio, Mary Donovan, Haruko Koike, Eva Schemmel, and Alan Friedlander
The overall goal of this project is to integrate ecological information with estimates of fisheries harvest in order to help inform community-based management decisions on Lana‘i. We conducted a marine ecological assessment of the Maunalei ahupua‘a and adjacent habitats in order to examine the health of the coastal marine ecosystem.
We used NOAA benthic habitat maps to guide our sampling of the near shore marine re-sources. Surveys of fishes, corals, limu, and other macro-invertebrates (wana) were conducted within the ‘ahupua‘a of Maunalei and adjacent areas.
a) Create a comprehensive species list of each major group,
b) generate density and biomass estimates of fishes, and
c) map benthic habitat cover.
Coral and Limu:
Coral cover was highest in deeper are-as in contrast with shallow areas which were mainly pavement or rub-ble. Limu cover was generally higher in areas where coral cover was low and also towards the north end of the area where freshwater and sediments flow onto the reef flat.
The two fish species that made up the most biomass in the area were uhu (Bullethead parrotfish) and uhu ‘ahu ‘ula (Spectacled parrotfish).
We created an interpolated surface allowing us to see that fish biomass tended to be higher in deeper areas and was particularly high near the middle of the ‘ahupua‘a.
The offshore marine area of Maunalei ‘ahupua‘a had high coral cover while the nearshore reef flat was covered with fine sediments and sparse limu. Limu kohu was prevalent offshore with many other limu species observed. Fish biomass was moderate compared to other areas in Hawai‘i and most large fish were observed in deeper areas suggesting more fishing impacts inshore. Honu were common in the area, especially near the channel. Overall, near-shore areas were impacted by land-based runoff and sediment while offshore had healthy levels of coral and fish.