Princeton research cited in new coral reef conservation policy in Hawaii

Written by
Cara Clase, Ph.D., Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment
March 20, 2024

In January of 2023, Princeton researchers Bing Lin and David Wilcove published a paper that revealed how coastal tourism contributes to the degradation of coral reefs and marine ecosystems in Hawaii.  Almost a year after publication, Lin, Wilcove, and their research team’s paper has contributed to the passing of Hawaii’s Ocean and Stewardship User Fee that took effect on Jan. 1, 2024.  

This legislation (Act 46 [SLH 2021] - Hawaii Revised Statutes §187A-52) charges participants of recreational ocean activities, such as scuba diving or snorkeling, a $1.00 per person fee.  Most of the fee’s revenue will be used to manage and protect coral reefs and other aquatic ecosystems on the shores of Hawaii, but a notable 20% of the funding will also be allocated to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to improve the everyday lives and living conditions of Native Hawaiians. 

Said Wilcove, “It is very gratifying to see our research contribute to solving an important environmental problem. Our goal as researchers is not simply to publish papers, but rather to publish papers that contribute to making the world a more sustainable place.”

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