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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tide Pooling for a Solution: Strategic Communication to Strengthen the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District

  • Author(s): Barcina, Keelan
  • et al.

This report focused on a timely marine conservation issue in Pūpūkea, O‘ahu, Hawai’i regarding the lack of enforceable administrative rules in Kapoʻo, also known as the Pūpūkea or Sharks Cove tidepool, that is a part of the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD). To support the rule change process to revise the administrative rules, I worked with Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea (MPW), a local nonprofit, to create and apply an ArcGIS Story Map. To build the Story Map, I explored available published literature, examined human use data from Kapo‘o, and observations from beach closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From theliterature, I gleaned information on the role and function of tide pools in Hawai‘i, impacts from recreational use in coastal environments, marine managed areas in Hawai‘i. From the human use data, I found that the majority of visitors at Kapo‘o engaged in swimming, snorkeling, and shoreline use; and the monthly average number of people participating in these three activities combined increased by 58 people, or 7%, from 2017 to 2019. Observations during a two-month beach closure due to the pandemic included an anecdotal increase of juvenile fish, native algae, and sightings of rarely observed marine life, with no to minimal human disturbance. The Story Map will be used by MPW to educate the Pūpūkea community and visitors and will support the group through the future rulemaking process to make MLCD rules enforceable in Kapoʻo. Future studies will be conducted to understand Kapo‘o’s ecological role in the MLCD, to explore its role as a nursery and refuge for marine life, and to determine the magnitude of fishing andrecreational impacts on the ecosystem.

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