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Sea Life Park Hawaii and the community based organization, Waimānalo Limu Hui, are joining forces to help restore beneficial limu (or algae) to local reef environments and spread awareness for the important role that certain species play in local culture. Species endemic to Hawaii are now being grown at the Park through the partnership, with plans in the works for a public exhibit as well as school group interactions in the spring of this year.
Sea Life Park is providing some of the necessary materials and optimal water conditions (a delicate balanced of salt and fresh water) for vibrant limu harvests that will help the Waimānalo Limu Hui with their important work restoring balance to local marine environments. Operating under the non-profit organization Ke Kula Nui O Waimānalo, the Hui has been replenishing limu once plentiful in Hawaii waters with the guidance of kupuna and other limu practitioners. Among its ongoing efforts, Waimānalo Limu Hui hosts monthly limu restoration days at Kaiona Beach Park, where hundreds of volunteers clean and plant limu back onto the reef. Since initiating these community events in 2017, the Hui has noted an increase in fish and turtles in the area.
“This partnership is incredibly exciting, as it is an effort that celebrates culture, community and conservation,” said Sea Life Park’s General Manager, Valerie King. “Following the Ka Piko event earlier this year—where the Park had the privilege of providing a venue for local vendors and organizations for a celebration of Waimānalo—we had the opportunity to talk with the Hui about how we could come together, and the result is a fitting extension of that same community spirit.”
Key species currently being cultivated through the program with Sea Life Park include Limu Manauea or “Ogo,” Limu Lepe-o-Hina, and Limu Pālahalaha.
Invasive alien algae have become detrimental to the sustainability of endemic limu grown naturally nowhere else in the world, with many native fish, invertebrates, and turtles, preferring to feed on native algae species.
Once an abundance of the endemic organic limu is cultivated through the partnership, future plans will include utilizing a portion of it to feed the Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu) at the Park as part of a sustainable cycle in support of the Park’s honu breeding and conservation program.
Nutrient-rich limu will also be incorporated into some of the Park’s restaurant menu items as a celebration of traditional flavors.
“Together we are committed to improving the ecosystem that once thrived in Waimānalo Bay,” said Waimānalo Limu Hui Board President, Ikaika Rogerson. “It truly takes the care of the community to ensure that future generations can appreciate the beauty and history of our Ahupua’a.”
The Waimānalo Limu Hui additionally invites volunteers to participate in its monthly limu restoration days. To learn more from a feature in the local newspaper the Star Advertiser, Click Here.
For more information on the monthly replanting events and other ways to support the Hui, please visit facebook.com/waimanalolimuhui.