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May 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Too Many Divers and Snorkelers Reduce Molokini Fish Populations

from the May, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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If you have been to Maui, no doubt you have either dived or snorkeled at the offshore crescent-shaped Molokini Island, a Marine Protected Area. And that's the problem. Everyone else has too.

A new study that examined years of data on the presence of fish in Molokini Crater before, during, and after the pandemic has found that the daily barrage of tour boats and snorkelers drastically reduced the fish population.

Before the pandemic, the number of tourists flocking to Maui was reaching all-time highs. More than 40,000 tourists came in August 2019 to snorkel or dive in Molokini. By the following spring, Hawaii was locked down to stop the spread of COVID-19, and for the first time in recent history, there were no visitors to Molokini....

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