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Mālama Nā `Apapa

(Take Care of the Coral Reefs)

Mālama Nā `Apapa is a non-profit organization committed to preserving, sustaining and restoring Kaua`i’s coral reefs.

Our mission is to minimize the decline in coral reef health and enable future coral growth. We are involved in many areas of coral health.

Reef Surveys

Detailed coral and fish counts to track changes over time

Debris Removal

Removing fishing line and other debris from living coral

Coral Nursery

Using microfragmentation of living coral to rapidly cultivate new coral

Training the Future

Training adult and youth science divers via volunteer programs and the Kaua'i SCUBA Club

What is coral?

Home to more than 25 percent of all marine life, coral reefs are among the oldest and most fragile ecosystems in the world.

Known for the colorful fish and marine life that live within them, the reefs themselves are actually made up of tiny animals called polyps, which create cup-like limestone skeletons around themselves using calcium from seawater.

Reefs form as generation after generation of coral polyps live, build, and die, creating vast strongholds for themselves and many other plants and animals.

healthy coral head

Why are coral reefs so important?

Coral reefs provide habitat for 25% of all marine life, they are the foundation of the marine ecosystem food chain.  They support the food chain for the larger fish that millions of people rely upon for food and income, as well as limiting coastal erosion.

The world’s ocean’s produce 70% of the oxygen we breath.  This oxygen is produced by phytoplankton, seaweed, algae and coral.

Coral reefs support the rare and endemic species of Hawaii’s marine ecosystem.  Over 1,000 marine species in Hawaii are endemic.

In Hawai`i, 85% of all visitors participate in some form of ocean recreation.  This contributes over $800 million dollars in marine-related revenue.

Many of Hawai`i’s sandy beaches are composed of ground up coral, coralline algae, and other calcium carbonate shells of marine life that live in the coral reef.

Some of the best surf breaks are formed by coral reefs.