Half of Hawai‘i’s coral reefs were bleached in just a one year span—a damaging process where the ocean is no longer a healthy environment for the coral—and even more severe bleaching is expected within the next decade. Fish populations are also in danger, due to overfishing and reef damage.
Scientists from the Nature Conservancy told Hawai‘i lawmakers that unprecedented amounts of bleaching occurred in just a one year span, from 2014–2015. Global warming continues to pose a threat that will worsen the situation, researchers warned.
Hawai‘i’s heat waves during 2014 made tough conditions for coral, but rising ocean temperatures mean that the worst is yet to come. “In the 2030s, 30 to 50 percent of the years will have major bleaching events in Hawai‘i,” said Kuulei Rogers of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).