Sea urchins help restore coral reefUPDATED 11:26 PM HST Aug 14, 2013Video Transcript
Funding from the military's port royal trust fund is now being used to continue coral reef restoration in Kaneohe Bay. Sea Urchins are the secret weapon to fish off destructive, invasive seaweed. KITV4's Nana Ohkawa gets an inside look at the urchin's hatchery. They start as this ... Grow to these little dots..get fed all this phyto plankton..And grow to this size... The entire process is done right in this hatchery.. These native sea urchins are being used to fight invasive seaweed that's destroying the reef in Kaneohe Bay. 1755 THE ALGAE WAS INTRODUCED IN THE 1970S AND IT TOOK ABOUT 15 TO 20 YEARS FOR US TO START SEEING A REAL PROBLEM IN THE BAY 1800 First, this super sucker was built and used to suck up a lot of the bad seaweed--- but environmentalist s realized this was just a quick band aide for a much bigger problem ...So they employed a second punch: sea urchins! "1415 WE NEEDED SOMETHING ELSE TO FOLLOW UP AFTER THE ALGAE WAS REMOVED AND THAT'S WHEN WE'D BEEN TESTING THESE SEA URCHINS THEY ARE NATIVE TO HAWAII THE COLLECTOR SEA URCHIN1430 2211 SINCE 2011 ABOUT 2 TO 5 THOUSAND OF THESE ARE PLACED INTO THE BAY ALMOST EVERY OTHER WEEK 2217 It's the only hatchery in the world producing these urchins for restoration purposes ....a costly project partly funded through an accident that destroyed massive amounts of coral on another part of the island. Back 2009 the USS Port Royal ran aground off Honolulu International airport - now $600,000 from Port Royal Trust Fund is helping these waters. 17:34 IF WE HAVE HEALTHY CORALS WE'VE GOT LOTS OF SPACE IN AMONG THE REEF WHICH PROVIDES EXTRA HABITAT FOR OTHER FISH AND OTHER ORGANISMS TO GROW 1743 The hope.... to keep the bay looking like this..by removing enough invasive seaweed and replacing it with native urchins, and eventually these native seaweeds to promote a healthy ecosystem. Nana Ohkawa kitv4 news. That project is expected to be on-going for a couple more years. There are also invasive seaweeds off of Waikiki that project leaders are looking into.