Makai Watch Program

The increased growth in tourism and residential development in Hawai'i created concern within the Puako community about the impact this development would have on their nearshore marine resources. In October of 2006 a Makai (Sea) Watch program was initiated to ensure the proper management of marine resources at Puako.

The Makai Watch program provides interested community members with opportunities to become involved and help monitor and manage Puako’s marine resources. The Puako Makai Watch program is organized by the community with assistance from the Department of Lands and Natural Resources (DLNR) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

In order to achieve it’s goals, the Puako Makai Watch program focuses on education and outreach; biological and human use monitoring; and observation and compliance.

Education and Outreach
Information about marine life, threats, impacts, fishing regulations and guidelines for enjoying the reef around Puako is being made available to both visitors and locals. It is essential that people living in or visiting the Puako area understand the importance of the marine environment and what they can do as individuals to help malama kai or take care of this environment. Look for this information in the General Store and in the Vacation Rental booklets, as well as on this website.




Download the Puako marine information sheets!
Corals Facts
Reef Fish Facts
Impacts to Reefs
Turtle Facts
Marine Visitation Guidelines

Biological and Human Use Monitoring
As part of the Makai Watch program, community volunteers collect both biological and human use information along the Puako coast. Members of the community monitor the reef nearshore and the state monitors the deeper water. Information on target fish species and their abundance is collected by community members weekly to determine if there are any changes over time (click here to see the data sheet).

This information can be used to alert managers if there are significant changes in the number of fish on the reef. The community also collects human use data which indicates how the marine resources in Puako are being used and how many visitors are coming.

Observation and Compliance
Community members are trained on how to observe, identify, record and report illegal activities to DOCARE, the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement. A form is available to make it easier for community volunteers to report violations and coordinate responses.

If you are interested in helping or supporting the Makai Watch program contact Zach Caldwell.

The following are partners of the Puako Makai Watch program: DLNR, TNC, the Community Conservation Network, the Hawai'i Wildlife Fund and several community-based organizations.

Photographs: Robert Shallenberger, Samantha Birch and Andrew Walsh.