FWD>Press Release -First La

Mark Eakin eakin at ogp.noaa.gov
Wed Mar 20 15:38:36 EST 1996

Mail*Link(r) SMTP               FWD>Press Release -First Large Scale 

  FYI.  I am merely forwarding the message and have no further information on 
this.  For further information, please see contacts in press release. 


     Southwest Region, Pacific Area Office, 2570 Dole Street, Room 106,  
     Honolulu, HI 96822. 

        John Naughton                           March 20,1996 
        at (808) 973-2940 (Honolulu, HI) 
        or Sue Smith (619) 546-7070 (San Diego, CA) 



        In the first large-scale coral transplant project ever conducted,  

     nearly fourteen tons of live corals have been successfully  

     transplanted from one location to another in Kawaihae Bay, Hawaii, the  

     Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  

     announced today. The project was recommended by NOAA's National Marine  

     Fisheries Service and funded by the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers to  

     mitigate coral loss during proposed harbor construction and to restore  

     nearby reefs.  

        "The Kawaihae project has been an unprecedented success, with  
     ninety-nine percent  of the coral surviving relocation," said Hilda  
     Diaz Soltero, Director of NMFS' Southwest Region. "This study proves  
     that large quantities of these living animals can survive the trauma  
     of transplant."  The coral was transplanted from areas that will be  
     disrupted by harbor construction that begins next week , and will be  
     moved from holding areas to reefs damaged during past harbor  
     construction in the bay.  

        Since September, live corals have been taken from the "footprints"  
     of three  proposed new  breakwaters and relocated to a large stockpile  
     site and seven experimental sites ranging from 10 to 50 feet of water  
     all within a half mile of the proposed small boat harbor at Kawaihae.  
     Participants in the project include NMFS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife  
     Service, Corps of Engineers, State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic  
     Resources, and the staff and students of the University of Hawaii  
     Institute of Marine Biology and Hawaii Preparatory Academy.  

        "Volunteer divers from the Science Department of Hawaii Preparatory  
     Academy have been instrumental the  transplant effort," said John  
     Naughton, Pacific Island Environmental Coordinator  

     for NMFS' Southwest Region. Coral heads were carefully detached  by  
     divers and gently placed in large wire trays which were then lifted up  
     off the bottom and transported while still submerged to transplant  
     sites by boat. 

        "We'll continue to monitor coral transplant sites during and after  
     the nearby harbor construction to see how they fare," said Naughton.  
     Students and staff from University of Hawaii Institute of Marine  
     Biology are under contract to monitor the transplant sites for three  
     years to obtain data on the growth rates and mortality of the coral.  

        The coral animals themselves are tiny, cuplike creatures with soft,  
     fragile bodies about which they secrete a hard stony skeleton. They  
     emerge only at night when their tentacles expand to sweep the sea for  
     planktonic food.  Restored coral reefs should provide new habitat for  
     many species of fish and sea turtles. 

        The National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency of the National  
     Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, studies and manages U.S.  
     living marine resources and is responsible for the protection of  
     marine mammals and sea turtles as well as marine habitats and  
     endangered species.  

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