How to help Kahalu’u Bay- Learn about Coral Spawning And How YOUR sunscreen has an effect

We had the opportunity to meet Cindy Punihaole and her volunteer team from the Reef Teach program at Kahalu’u Bay in Keauhou near Kailua Kona, which is overseen by the Kohala Center. This bay is one of the most popular snorkeling spots in West Hawaii. These passionate citizens are working hard to inform visitors about the threats facing Kahalu’u Bay and how, by working together with all stakeholders, we can make a difference to not only save the bay, the reef and the ecosystem, but make an impact on ALL beaches in Hawaii for the future. 


Cauliflower Corals just spawned and larvae (babies) are in the bay and along the coastal areas settling in on rocks and rubble to begin their life. Cindi provided the attachments below for you to share to remind our visitors to please be respectful when snorkeling, swimming, or surfing.  “Coral reefs in Hawai‘i are facing many threats. Laboratory tests confirm that chemicals found in most sunscreens, such as oxybenzone, are contributing to coral decline. These chemicals affect coral growth and reproduction, and also harm fish and other marine life—even if you don’t plan on swimming or snorkeling. We need our visitors Kokua now,” Cindi shared. Here is more info:

What You Can Do To Help

By wearing as much protective clothing as possible, then applying limited amounts of reef-friendly, mineral-based sunscreens where needed, we can all help Hawai‘i’s coral and marine ecosystems flourish and remain healthy for generations to come. “Many times visitors purchase toxic products before arrival. At Kahalu`u Beach Park our Aloha Ambassador ReefTeachers welcome visitors from all over the world that say “I never knew that the sunscreen I purchased was not safe for me or the ocean.” At the Kahalu`u Bay Education Center (KBEC) provides free “think zinc” zinc oxide sunscreen in automatic dispensers for visitors to use,” Cindi said. However, the product has a cost and we would love to ask you to donate/contribute toward the cost.

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