Reefs at Risk, World Resources Institute Reports

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The percentage of reefs rated as threatened has risen by 30% in 10 years, according to a World Resources Institute report.

(CNN) — Human activity and climate change have left about 75% of the world’s coral reefs threatened, putting the livelihoods of many countries that depend on the ocean ecosystems at risk, according to a report released this week.

Local threats such as overfishing, coastal development, and watershed- and marine-based pollution are responsible for the immediate and direct threat to more than 60% of the world’s reefs. Add to that thermal stress from rising ocean temperatures and the number of threatened reefs jumps to 75%, the World Resources Institute found in the report, titled “Reefs at Risk,” released Wednesday.

“This report serves as a wake-up call for policy-makers, business leaders, ocean managers, and others about the urgent need for greater protection for coral reefs,” said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “As the report makes clear, local and global threats, including climate change, are already having significant impacts on coral reefs, putting the future of these beautiful and valuable ecosystems at risk.”

The threat is the highest in Southeast Asia where nearly 95% of the region’s reefs are threatened, mainly due to overfishing and destructive fishing, according to the report. Australia, home to the world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, had the lowest threat level at 14%.

The numbers represent an alarming trend: a dramatic increase in the percentage of reefs rated as threatened. According to the report, the level has increased by 30% in 10 years, mainly due to a rise in overfishing and destructive fishing.

The report attributes the rise to the growth in coastal populations in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

Similarly, climate change is playing an increasing role in the growing threat levels as the warming atmosphere causes ocean temperatures to rise.

As a result, “mass coral bleaching, a stress response to warming waters, has occurred in every region and is becoming more frequent as higher temperatures recur,” the report says, noting that “extreme bleaching kills corals outright.”

“Our projections suggest that during the 2030s, roughly half of reefs globally will experience stress sufficient to induce severe bleaching in most years,” the study says. “During the 2050s, this percentage is expected to grow to more than 95%.”

Many countries, especially small island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean, rely on coral reefs for fishing, tourism and coastal protection, and the report says that “degradation and loss of reefs will result in significant social and economic impacts.”

In addition to the global threats of warming oceans and acidification, the local threats pose the most immediate and direct risks, the report finds, threatening more than 60 percent of coral reefs today.

This analysis addresses the local threats of:

  • Coastal development, coastal engineering, land filling, runoff from construction, sewage discharge, and impacts from unsustainable tourism
  • Watershed-based pollution such as erosion and nutrient fertilizer runoff from agriculture that flows down rivers to coastal waters
  • Marine-based pollution and damage such as solid waste, nutrients, toxins from oil and gas installations and shipping, and physical damage from anchors and ship groundings
  • Overfishing and destructive fishing, including unsustainable harvesting of fish or invertebrates, and damaging fishing practices such as the use of explosives or poisons.

The 27 countries and territories identified as highly vulnerable to reef loss are spread across the world’s reef regions. Nineteen are small island states.

Nine countries – Haiti, Grenada, the Philippines, Comoros, Vanuatu, Tanzania, Kiribati, Fiji, and Indonesia – are most vulnerable to the effects of coral reef degradation. The report points out that these countries have high ratings for exposure to reef threat and reef dependence, combined with low ratings for adaptive capacity.

In order to help with recovery, “local threats must be tackled head-on with direct management interventions, while efforts to quickly and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions are of paramount concern not only for reefs but for nature and humanity as a whole,” the report says.

Former Vice President Al Gore cautions in the report’s introduction that if efforts “fail to address the multiple threats they (reefs) face, we will likely see these precious ecosystems unravel, and with them the numerous benefits that people around the globe derive from these ecological wonders.”

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Skin Care Tips for Surfers – Free Organic Sunscreen

Becausewesurf and Ocean Girl Project want to give a big mahalo to water woman/surfer girl Laola Lake!

Meet our official skin care expert for surf and summer 2010, Laola (bio below). She welcomes any questions about safe sunblock, skin care, or any other related topic. She is going to choose a skin care question every month that she feels deserves the most attention and reward that person with a tube of organic sunblock or some other nice skin care product.

Aloha to all my ocean ohana,

I was born and raised in Hawaii to parents who both surfed. They naturally introduced me and my three brothers to ocean sports at a very young age. I’ve spent the last several decades exposed to sun and salt water and know firsthand the ravages of what such exposure can mean to your health. Whereas we once had a thicker ozone protection( I use to be able to play in the ocean for hours without any protection) I can no longer go out into the sun for an extended length of time without sun protection without getting badly burned. My mother eventually became a facialist (esthetician as you’ll see it often referred to) and I eventually followed in her footsteps. I’ve practiced in the field for over 20 years. My clients range from professional athletes (football, boxing, sumo, volleyball etc) to movie stars, malihini and kamaaina. While most women are concerned about what the sun does to prematurely age the skin, my concern is the effect that uv can have on your dna. There is also deep concern about the damage that many sunscreens can cause. This information may seem controversial at this point in time. Remember that many years ago the surgeon general published a statement that told people not to worry about smoking being hazardous to your health. You can take the information that is available to you and make your own decision. I have found that it’s usually better to take the “better be safe than sorry” when it comes to health and wellness. The following link to the Environmental Working Group’s recently published information on 2010 sunscreen report is very informative.

I welcome any questions about safe sunblock, skin care, or other related topic please send emails to:

Every month I will choose a question that I feel deserves the most attention and reward that person with a tube of organic sunblock or some other nice skin care product.

Hope to meet you on or off the water someday.

Until then….aloha….and be safe. Laola

In the Ocean and on the Beach in Waikiki, 100’s of plastic debris in the sea

This morning I went for a walk down to the ocean in Waikiki.

I was headed towards  Queen’s beach between the wall and Lifeguard tower 2F.  It’s a good place to check out the surf conditions, look for whales and swim.

As I got closer  I started seeing what looked like dozens and dozens of about 4″ long white plastic cylindrical shaped pieces floating in the ocean and washing onto the sand, the closer I got, the more I saw.

I took this picture when I got home, I wanted to document some of the literally 100’s of pieces of plastic we found. The inside reef area was covered in these plastic pieces and what looks like firework detonators, which also have plastic rings on them.

I remembered last night, Thursday 02/10/2011, we saw and heard fireworks going off near Waikiki.  I am not sure who or why, and didn’t see anything in the paper about it today. Could this be firework debris?

Such a  sad sight, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the birds, monk seals, whales, dolphins, and honu dying from eating them!

What kind of chemicals are on the detonator ends floating in the sea and in fireworks and do they always end up in the ocean like this?

As I started collecting these pieces, a few wonderful people joined in, everyone wondering the same thing, are these from last nights fireworks and is anyone ever responsible for cleaning up after them?

If anyone knows more, especially about the Hilton Hawaiian fireworks on Friday night, we would really appreciate more information.

This was an eye opener for me.  I will sadly never watch aerial fireworks again without thinking about the plastic debris  and chemicals falling into the ocean and the potentially deadly consequences for all sea creatures that are a direct result of plastic in the sea.

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For the Love of Whales Maui Whale Festival February 2011

For the Love of Whales

February 11 – 14, 2011
For the Love of Whales

This four-day event provides a venue for people to express their love of whales and to enjoy art, photos, video, poetry, hula and musical performances relating to whales, along with an opportunity to learn about whales from noted whale experts, watch a whale film, take part in a whale photo safari and more!

Friday, February 11, 2011
Tribute to Whales
Pacific Whale Foundation presents A Tribute To Whales through art, photography, poetry, and performance. Hula, music and a traditional Hawaiian chant will kick off the festivities on Friday, February 11th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Maui Mall. Following the free music and dance performance, the public will be invited to share and enjoy music, art, poetry, stories, video and photos. Local schools will also share whale-themed art. Click here to download an entry form. Let’s celebrate the whales! Don’t miss an opportunity to create with other artists in our open studio nights January 13th and January 27th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm in the Discovery Center (across from Beach Bums in Ma’alaea Harbor).
Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13, 2011
Whale Photo Safari
Pacific Whale Foundation’s Research team and renowned professional photographers offer hands-on training on capturing whale images with state-of-the-art digital cameras. An at sea workshop for beginning and advanced photographers. Reservations can be made by clicking here or calling 808-249-8811, ext. 1
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Evening With The Experts

A free multimedia presentation by three of the world’s foremost whale photographers.

Bryant Austin is the first artist to show photos of whales at life-size. These massive photos have a  profound impact on all who view them. Bryant hopes to change perceptions about whales and whaling, by showing these beautiful and impactful photos to audiences around the world. His presentation will include video showing how he photographs whales and assembles the gigantic photos.

Ari Friedlaender is a research scientist at Duke University Marine Laboratory who studies marine mammals in polar regions and the impacts of climate change in their environment. Ari has made 12 trips to Antarctica and spends several months of each year at sea, studying whales. He uses photography as a tool to raise awareness about the issues facing our world’s oceans.

C. T. Ryder is a producer/director/writer in film, TV, and music, and he serves as the President of Earth Foundation. Ryder was on the team that won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary of 2009 for THE COVE, which shed light on the slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

Their presentation is free and open to all. 5:30pm to 8:00pm, Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Kaanapali. Premium seating is reserved for Pacific Whale Foundation members. Advance reservations can be made by clicking here or calling 808-249-8811, ext. 1

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Pali Walk

Hike to see whales! A morning hike led by a professional guide along the Lahaina Pali Trail, up to the ridge top where you can enjoy incredible views of whales in beautiful Ma’alaea Bay.

Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13, 2011
Land-based Whalewatching with Whale Researchers
Pacific Whale Foundation researchers will be stationed at Ka’anapali Beach and Papawai Point scenic overlook on Route 30, to answer questions about whales, help you watch whales from shore and learn about whales and whale research. Free and open to all. 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Sunday, February 13, 2011
VIP Whalewatch
Whalewatch with Conference Experts
Embark on an unforgettable whalewatch with the presenters from the “Evening with the Experts” event. Each presenter will narrate a part of the whalewatch, so guests will hear from each one and will get their unique perspectives on the whales that are encountered. Two-hour cruise from Lahaina Harbor. Reservations required. Reservations can be made by clicking here for Malaea or here for Lahaina or calling 808-249-8811, ext. 1
Monday, February 14, 2011
Whale-entine’s Day Cruise
Enjoy a romantic evening of watching whales and a five course chef-prepared dinner featuring locally grown and produced Maui products. From Lahaina Harbor. Reservations required. Contact Pacific Whale Foundation. Reservations can be made by clicking here or calling 808-249-8811, ext. 1

2011 Whale Day Celebration Saturday, February 19, 2011
Time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Kalama Park, Kihei (scroll down for more info)
Featuring • Live Entertainment • Made in Maui Vendor Fair • Children’s Activities • Eco-Alley • Silent Auction

The Maui Whale Day Celebration

2011 marks the 31st anniversary of Maui’s largest and longest running celebration of its famous wintertime residents, the humpback whales! Whale Day is the signature event of the Maui Whale Festival. Whale Day will also be bigger than ever, with live music by some of Hawaii’s top musicians, a new “Made on Maui” vendor fair, more restaurant food booths with great food by popular Maui restaurants, expanded environmental displays, activities for kids, and lots of information about whales! Whale Day is free and open to all.

The 2011 Whale Day Celebration will take place Saturday, February 19, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Kalama Park in Kihei. Please check back here for more information to be added soon!

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