The rainforest of the sea
The Hawaiian coral reef stretches over 1,200 miles into the Central Pacific and accounts for at least 80% of all coral reefs in the United States. Often called the “rainforest of the sea,” the Hawaiian reef supports incredible biodiversity and provides food, shelter, and habitat for more than 7,000 marine species. Over 25% of these species are endemic to Hawai'i, which means there are more than 1,250 unique species living here that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
The Hawaiian reef system also feeds entire communities that rely on the ocean for sustenance. It acts as a natural breakwater that protects shoreline communities and coastal cities from wave and sand erosion caused by storms. It’s also what creates Hawai'i’s famous white sand beaches and iconic surf. Tourism, recreation, and other ocean industries that rely on the reef generate millions of jobs and billions of dollars for Hawai'i’s economy.