Luxury yacht owners fined $100k for coral reef damage off Hawaii

Owners of a $41m superyacht will pay a $100,000 fine after damaging hundreds of coral colonies in Hawaii.

According to Business Insider, the yacht, the Formosa, dropped anchor onto coral, breaking 431 coral colonies across more than 11,000 square feet.

The yacht’s chain inflicted much of the damage by swinging through the coral bed, according to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The owners — said to be Formosa Wealth Management Group — settled with the state to the tune of $100,000, which will fund the restoration and management of coral reefs in West Hawaii.

The damage occurred in October 2018.

Nikki Smith, an aquatic biologist with the department’s Division of Aquatic Resources, says that much of the damage came from the anchor’s chain “swinging through the bed” adding that the impact was “quite extensive”.

After surveying the damage, biologists from the division took to repairing the affected coral. They went on three dives to reposition more than 50 large colonies and stabilise more than 250 coral fragments.

According to Hawaii News Now, employees of Big Island Watersports observed the Formosa’s anchor was not properly set and documented the presence of recently broken coral.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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