The Lanikai Beach and Park Foundation was awarded a grant from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation to conduct biological, ocean use, and cultural assessment of the coral reef ecosystem of Lanikai. ‘A‘alapapa reef, Lanikai’s coral reef ecosystem, is a complex mosaic of patch reefs, sand channels, and offshore islets that is unique in Hawaii. Anecdotal observations made by Lanikai residents, members of the Mokulua Fishing Club, and other resource users of the area indicate long-term declines in the abundance of reef fish and invertebrates including lobster, parrotfish (uhu), jacks (ulua), and threadfin (moi). These declines have been observed despite a ban on the use of lay net in Lanikai and the adjacent Kailua Bay and State-wide fishing regulations on catch size and season. Community members have begun to discuss how to improve our ahupua‘a from Kai’iwa Ridge to ‘A‘alapapa reef and the Mokulua Islands. A sound scientific basis was considered an essential first step, however; for identifying targeted management actions.
The results of this work together with community input and consultations will be used to develop management alternatives for ‘A‘alapapa reef. The project activities directly support the community's overall goal to improve health and management of the coral reef ecosystem at Lanikai and are tied to four strategies: conduct biological and ocean use monitoring, conduct education and outreach programs, build enforcement capacity, and improve ahupua‘a management ridge to reef. Mālama Kaʻōhao, composed of volunteers from the Lanikai Association, Mokulua Fishing Club, Lanikai Canoe Club, Lanikai Beach and Park Foundation, and the public, support the project activities by conducting ocean use surveys, education, outreach, and fundraising activities and provides a forum to discuss issues and management options.