DLNR Cites Boat for Damage to Coral Caused by Anchor Chain

Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers cited the owner of a 47-foot sailing vessel in Kailua Bay on Friday, May 2, for damage caused to coral reef by the vessel’s anchor chain. Approximately 80 feet of chain was in the water, with about 30 to 40 feet in the coral.

Coral damaged by a boat anchor. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

Coral damaged by a boat anchor. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

A swimmer photographed and reported the damage to the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) security officer for Kailua Pier, who immediately called the DOCARE Hawai‘i Branch to request that officers investigate the coral damage. DOCARE officers investigated and photographed the damage and cited the boat owner. The boat owner did not have a mooring permit.

Under Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Section 13-95-70, it is unlawful for any person to take, break, or damage any stony coral. The violation is a petty misdemeanor offense, subject to a criminal fine of a minimum $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense. In addition, administrative fines of up to $1,000 per specimen may apply.

Under the newly amended coral rules, which took effect on May 1, each damaged coral head or colony less than one square meter in surface area is a separate specimen. For colonies greater than one square meter in surface area, each square meter and any remaining fraction thereof constitutes a separate specimen.

According to court records, the boat owner’s arraignment and plea is scheduled for May 22 at 1 p.m. in Kona District Court.

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