An Economic Contribution to Marine Park Management for Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

by Charmaine Marie Gallagher, Univeristy of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
Donna J. Lee, Univeristy of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


Hawaii's most popular underwater recreation area is the Hanauma Bay Nature Park on Oahu. To protect its valuable marine resources, the waters of the bay are designated a Marine Life COnservation District. Marine parks provide access for public enjoyment and accommodate all interested groups. Marine park managers strive to balance the immediate demands for ocean recreation with the long term conservation of resources. The ideal management plan protects the marine environment as the most important consideration but also recognizes the needs of different user groups. In Hanauma Bay, however, managers' face challenges in controlling the amount of users the bay can withstand. Overuse has caused degradation of the water quality, death of coral species and overcrowding, making the park less enjoyable. In 1990, the Department of Parks and Recreation initiated restrictions to further protect the resources from overuse and ensure long term use of the site. This study combines results form scientific studies and direct observations to develop a conceptual model that reveals the dynamic relationship between recreational use and the coral reef ecosystem in Hanauma Bay. The model describes how the present use of the bay may be heavily discounting potential future values. The paper examines management objectives and the effects of the recently imposed restrictions of the park. Applications of the model are used to determine the effects of coral reef protection and recovery through: education, further restrictions on the number of users, user fees, and restricted areas at the park. These methods are introduced for managers in the evaluation of alternative management strategies. The model can ultimately improve park management decision-making and help to insure the protection of resources for the future.

Subject Headings: Parks | Bays | Coastal management | Economic factors | Resource management | Reefs and sills | Managers | Water-based recreation | Hawaii | United States

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