corporation, to apply for and receive two permits to harvest deepwater precious corals utilizing two one-man submersibles (Deepworker-2000).
This effectively eliminated the entire NWHI (84 million acres) as potential grounds for deepwater precious coral exploration and harvest because two-thirds of the deepwater habitat for precious corals in the State of Hawaii is found in the NWHI.
Deepwater precious corals in the main Hawaiian Islands are found at depths of 380 to 475 m.
Precious corals were first observed on the summit of Cross Seamount during an expedition there in 1986 to assess the resource potential of ferromanganese crusts and potential environmental impacts of crust mining (Grigg et al.
The depths where deepwater precious corals are found, the surface weather where beds exist, and the legal requirement for selective harvest, all require that submersible or ROV technology be utilized.
The deep reef where Hawaii's precious corals are found is essentially a mare incognitum, where almost every submersible dive produces new biological discoveries.
In 1970 a long-term research program on precious corals began at the University of Hawaii and this led to the development of a selective harvesting system utilizing a manned submersible (Grigg et al.
The ecology and patterns of life history of various species of precious corals have been reviewed by Grigg (1974, 1976, 1984, 1989).
Fertilization of Hawaiian precious corals appears to take place externally within the water column.
The life history attributes of all species of precious corals in the western Pacific make these living resources highly vulnerable to over-exploitation in unmanaged fisheries.
The FMP and regulations outline and classify the known beds of precious corals within the Western Pacific Region, and designate harvesting method and the amount of corals that can be harvested.
The whole area of population dynamics of precious corals is in need of further research.