LaoLao Bay Dive Path Will Reduce Reef Impacts

The Takeaway: Coastal program design that keeps divers to a set path is likely to improve coral health and recruitment.

Tourists love coral reefs but often swim too close and end up touching, breaking off, and even standing on coral. Over time, these behaviors can severely degrade the reef, causing slow recovery times, decreasing their value, and compromising their ability to protect the shoreline. A project to create a dedicated path through the LaoLao Bay coral reef flat will diminish those impacts, with a likely rise in coral recruitment and health. The Coastal Resources Management Program of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is designing the project.

The project partners will be laying four markers and connecting them using ropes to keep tourists confined to a narrow dive path that travels through the most popular parts of the reef. (2019)

Partners: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Coastal Resources Management Program, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers