It's called black band coral disease and it was first found in Kauai waters in 2006.
Two summers ago marine photographer Terry Lilley began documenting the die-off triggering a rapid response team of experts from the University of Hawaii, National Marine Fisheries and U.S. Geological survey to spring into action.
Scientists pinpointed the cyanbacteria--the bluegreen algae-- that has been attacking montipora rice corals.
They do know it is spreading, although so far the outbreak is just on Kauai-- most recently documented at Ke'e and Makua beach.
"We really hope we can control it before it spreads elsewhere," said Frazer McGilvray, aquatics administrator of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Now, the various agencies are preparing to launch a campaign to keep the coral problem a top priority.
It's putting out the call for ocean users to be on the lookout for the disease across the state.
"We do know of coral diseases that have wiped out 80 percent of the coral in the Carribean. So, this is potentially a very, very damaging disease so we need to get a handle on it here," said McGavray
Aquatic Resource staff have launched a new webpage they hope will be a go-to site for information, including links to the Eyes of the Reef-- a non-profit group tasked with reporting marine problems.
"The Eyes of the Reef website is where you go to file your observations and send in your photos It will the Reef Response webpage on the DLNR site is where all the information that is coming out of the multi agency team. It's a one-stop shop for information," said DLNR marine resource specialist Anne Rosinksi.
Summer is just around corner and scientists fully expect more of these hotspots to crop up but they hope this approach and this website will help keep the public on guard.
The state's new aquatic resources boss admits his program is massively understaffed and underfunded to deal with the problem on its own.
"In an ideal world we would have been on this 10 years ago but the best thing we can say is, we are on it now and moving forward we know we have to do this," said McGilvray.