Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Marine Protected Areas in Hawai'i

West Hawai'i Regional FMA, Hawai'i

Established 1998


Location: The west coast of Hawai'i Island, from Ka Lae, Kau (South Point) to Upolu Point, North Kohala, but not including Kawaihae commercial harbor.


  1. Ensure the sustainability of the State's nearshore ocean resources; 
  2. Identify areas with resource and use conflicts;
  3. Provide management plans as well as implementing regulations for minimizing user conflicts and resource depletion, through the designation of sections of coastal waters in the West Hawai'i regional fishery management area as fish replenishment areas where certain specified fish harvesting activities are prohibited, and other areas where anchoring and ocean recreation activities are restricted; 
  4. Establish a system of day-use mooring buoys in high-use coral areas and limit anchoring in some of these areas to prevent anchor damage to corals;
  5. Identify areas and resources of statewide significance for protection;
  6. Carry out scientific research and monitoring of the near-shore resources and environment; and
  7. Provide for substantive involvement of the community in resource management decisions for this area through facilitated dialogues community residents and resource users.

Management plan

The department shall develop a West Hawai'i regional fishery management area plan that identifies and designates appropriate areas of the management area as follows:

  1. Designates a minimum of thirty per cent of coastal waters in the Hawai'i regional fishery management area as fish replenishment areas in which aquarium fish collection is prohibited;
  2. Establishes a day-use mooring buoy system along the coastline of the West Hawai'i regional fishery management area and designates some high-use areas where no anchoring is allowed;
  3. Establishes a portion of the fish replenishment areas as fish reserves where no fishing of reef-dwelling fish is allowed; and 
  4. Designates areas where the use of gill nets as set nets shall be prohibited.


See also: West Hawai'i Aquarium ProjectAdministrative Rules


Last update: 6/12/2002