The owner of a 47-foot boat anchored in Kailua Bay in Kailua-Kona was cited on Friday for causing coral reef damage due to the boat’s anchor chain.
It was reported that approximately 80 feet of chain was in the water, with about 30 to 40 feet of it in the coral.
The citation was given out by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). It was after a swimmer photographed and reported the damage to a Kailua pier security officer with the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. The officer then contacted DOCARE, who investigated and cited the boat owner.
The owner also did not have a mooring permit.
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 that, each square meter and any remaining fraction thereof constitutes a separate specimen.
The boat owner’s arraignment and plea is scheduled for May 22 at 1 p.m. in Kona District Court.