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Hawaii’s Coral Reefs – Rainforest of the Sea

underwater view of a large rock

Hawaii is surrounded 410,000 acres of coral reefs! This “rainforest of the sea” is home to more than 7,000 known species of marine plants, fish, and animals. Coral reefs offer a teeming ecosystem and feed and provide shelter to the ocean’s wildlife. They also protect Hawaii’s beautiful shoreline from sand and wind erosion. The reefs surrounding the islands are the reason Hawaii has such breathtaking white sand beaches.

Because Hawaii’s coral reef system is isolated from other system’s it is home to more than 1,250 unique species of wildlife that can only be found in Hawaii’s waters. More than 500 species of algae alone have been identified in Hawaiian coastal waters. Marine algae provide more oxygen than all the world’s plants on land combined! They are also an important food source to the ocean’s fish and other animals.


Due to the importance of coral protecting them has become an important goal of the United States. This year President Obama set aside 582,578 square miles to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. This marine monument is now 50 times larger than the actual land mass of Hawaii’s islands combined. It is also the largest protected marine area in the world!

Coral reefs are a common area to spot sharks. Since so many fish call coral reefs home they are a prime hunting spot for the predators. Scientists also believe that a heathy shark population is extremely important for a healthy coral reef system. Sharks keep fish populations in balance which in turn keeps coral reef systems healthy and balanced. This is why the overfishing sharks is so detrimental to the ocean!

Hawaii encourages you to explore and appreciate the beautiful coral reef system it has to offer. Snorkeling and scuba diving are a wonderful way to view the colorful and vibrant marine world. However, keep in mind that human activity can be detrimental to coral. Do not remove coral from the reef or disturb the habitat unnecessarily.



By staying educated about one of Hawaii’s most beautiful assets you can enjoy and protect the coral reef and help preserve it for generations to come!







Haleiwa Harbor
66-105 Haleiwa Rd
Haleiwa, HI 96712

Call 808.228.5900

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