Page 11 - MidWeek Windward - March 17, 2021
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Urchins Placed Within Kāne’ohe Bay Fight Invasive Seaweed
The first of the hatch- ery-raised sea urchins placed in Kāneʻohe Bay are 10 years old, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Pacif- ic Cooperative Studies Unit and Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources are com- memorating the significant achievement.
227 acres of reef in Kāneʻo- he Bay, and has recently expanded to the Waikīkī Marine Life Conservation District to control invasive algae.
the urchin hatchery, invasive macroalgae — known as Kappaphycus, Euchuema — would grow densely at the top of Kāneʻohe Bay reefs, which would smother them, cutting out sunlight and de- stroying coral. However, as a result of the urchin trans- fer, the invading seaweed cover has been lessened and coral health has improved.
  The sea urchin hatchery, funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- tration and DAR, success- fully transplanted the first of them in 2011 and has since released 600,000 sea urchins across the state.
The species of urchins, Tripneustes gratilla, are spawned, placed and reared at the state’s Sand Is- land-based ʻĀnuenue Fish- eries Research Center as part of a multi-agency partner- ship.
Today, these areas are monitored for algae re- growth and urchins are transferred when necessary if invasive seaweed is spot- ted.
David Cohen
These sea urchins have proven to be incredibly suc- cessful at controlling inva- sive seaweed, a top concern for coral preservation in Ha- waiʻi. So far, the sea urchin project has treated more than
The sea urchin hatchery — formerly a shrimp aqua- culture facility — is run by David Cohen and his staff, who raise sea urchins un- til their juvenile life stage. It takes about four to five months until urchins achieve a big enough size to be moved to Kāneʻohe Bay.
“This is one of the most effective marine invasive species control projects implemented in Hawaiʻi,” states PCSU director Shaya Honarvar.
credibly challenging ani- mal to raise in captivity, but under Cohen’s leadership, the hatchery has been able to produce large numbers of sea urchins consistently, which is a huge accomplish- ment,” states DAR adminis- trator Brian Neilson.
Prior to the initiation of
“Sea urchins are an in-
For more information, vis- it article.php?aId=11168.
The sea urchin project has released 600,000 sea urchins across the state.
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