Learn About Coral Reefs

By Hawaii.com Team

Hawaii’s coral reefs, the “rainforests of the sea,” are fascinating and diverse ecological communities. With no more than a snorkel and mask, you can peer into these remarkable worlds at one of Maui’s many near-shore reefs.

Corals, although they look like rock, are living animals, which can be destroyed or hurt by careless recreational activities. Don’t touch, walk or stand on coral as this can kill the living coral polyps that are the builders of the reef structure. Never break off pieces of coral. The taking of live coral or rock with attached marine life is illegal in Hawaii. And even though some stores sell fish food for use by snorkelers, please don’t feed the fish. This upsets the natural balance of the reef and encourages the proliferation of more aggressive species.

Learn about the reefs, how to protect them and the names of fish you’ll see while snorkeling at Ulua Beach in Wailea. The Pacific Whale Foundation operates a free Coral Reef Information Station at the beach Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The station is sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Maui County’s Office of Economic Development.

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