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Boat owner fined $43K for damaging Big Island coral, live rock

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  • COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
                                A Hawaii island boat owner was fined $43,000 after causing “extensive damage” to 101 coral colonies and 58 pieces of live rock outside Honokohau Small Boat Harbor.

    COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

    A Hawaii island boat owner was fined $43,000 after causing “extensive damage” to 101 coral colonies and 58 pieces of live rock outside Honokohau Small Boat Harbor.

A boat owner has been fined $43,000 after damaging living coral and live rock outside of Honokohau Small Boat Harbor on Hawaii island last year, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced.

In March of last year, the DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources received a social media report that the 54-foot sailing catamaran, called “Avalanche,” had anchored on top of live coral outside of the boat harbor, the land department said in a news release.

DLNR staff conducted a visual survey of the reef and spoke with the boat captain. The vessel had pulled anchor and left the area, the DLNR said, and an underwater assessment found “extensive damage” to 101 coral colonies and 58 pieces of live rock.

DAR recommended an administrative penalty of $43,417 to compensate the state for damage to natural resources on public lands and the cost of the subsequent investigation.

“The portion of the penalty not expended to cover the costs of our investigation is placed in a fund dedicated to coral damage response and restoration,” DAR Administrator Brian Neilson said in a statement. “We appreciate the Land Board’s action in approving what we believe are fair and equitable penalties based on the extent of damage caused by each of these vessels.”

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