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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Alien Seaweeds

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In the continuing battle to prevent the spread of alien species in Hawai’i, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources are making available an easy to use education tool to help control alien seaweed species.

A waterproof card set was created to educate boaters, divers, and fishermen in Hawai’i to identify alien seaweeds and prevent their spread.

Alien seaweeds harm Hawai’i’s coral reefs and native marine life, reduce fisheries habitat, and cost millions of dollars to Hawai’i’s economy. The cards were created by an EPA grant to the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources and are designed for boaters, divers, and people who fish to better control alien seaweeds that may accidentally foul their gear or boats.

Water-proof set of cards identifying alien seaweeds in Hawaiian waters

Water-proof set of cards identifying alien seaweeds in Hawaiian waters

The card set includes information on what everyone, boaters and fishermen in particular, can do to help protect Hawai’i’s coral reefs from alien seaweeds such as:

  • dry dive gear, wetsuits and dive bag after each use;
  • remove all seaweeds and fragments found on fishing gear and boats after visiting alien seaweed infested areas and dispose of them in the trash;
  • never release alien species or aquarium animals or plants into streams or coastal waters;
  • report any unusual seaweed blooms to the state Division of Aquatic Resources;
  • avoid over fishing and join alien seaweed clean ups;
  • carefully screen all organisms brought into Hawai’i for aquaculture and research and;
  • tell others about Hawai’i’s coral reefs and the dangers of alien species.

The cards are in three sections, the first detailing in clear color pictures, the types of alien seaweeds and invasive algae that everyone should look out for, including their present distribution and habitat. The second section shows the types of edible seaweeds that are good for the coral reef environment and cooking. Finally there is a section on what can be done to prevent the spread of alien seaweeds. There are also “before” and “after” pictures of infested and healthy coral reef areas.

The waterproof card set comes on a plastic ring that can be attached to any location on a boat or tackle box. The cards are one of the educational projects sponsored by a wetlands grant from the EPA to the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Hawai’i Division of Aquatic Resources. Additional assistance was provided by the Hawai’i Marine Algae Group, the University of Hawai’i and the Hawai’i Coral Reef Initiative Research Program.

Boaters and anglers can request a set of the cards and get more information on the program by contacting David Gulko at the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources at (808) 587-0318, or the EPA at (808) 541-2710. There is a limited supply.

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