Last week, we blogged about the four new algae species found in Hawaii, some of which were within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Yes, it’s quite a mouthful, and it is also one of Hawaii’s many Marine Protected Areas, which include both marine monuments and national marine sanctuaries. Papahānaumokuākea contains nearly 140,000 square miles of marine habitat, making it larger than all of America’s national parks combined, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.
This very special marine monument is located throughout a large portion of the Hawaiian Archipelago to the northwest of the main islands. Most visitors and local residents never see it because it’s so remote. However, the main islands contain other National Marine Protected Areas (MPA).
For those of you planning on trying a Maui ocean activity tour with us, you will be exploring one of these MPAs. For example, if you join us on a Molokini Snorkel Tour, you will see the Molokini Shoal, which is a Marine Life Conservation District. The protection is well deserved, considering that the area is home to around 250 to 260 marine species.
If you’re planning on joining us on a Maui Whale Watch Tour, you will be cruising within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, where the whales are protected. Although the sanctuary includes a few areas throughout the island chain, the waters here on the southwest side of Maui are known for especially good whale watching because of the frequency of the population that congregates in this area.
Another protected area we have is the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, which is located in South Maui at the end of Makena Road. The coral reefs in this area are considered some of the finest in the main Hawaiian Islands, containing at least 33 species of coral, 75 species of fish, and 53 species of subtidal invertebrate.
Hawaii’s protected marine areas are living national treasures, and Maui is home to a particularly rich collection of them. That’s why we hope you’ll come out with us on one of our tours and experience the wonder of these vibrant, thriving habitats. If you need any assistance, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!