We wrote about the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit at the Waikiki Aquarium earlier this year and it finally opened in August. As the first major display in nearly six years at the aquarium, the NWHI exhibit features fish and 200 coral frags highlighting the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. All were collected from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument with rare government approval for collection
As we mentioned before, the stocking list would make any rare fish collector drool including masked or Personatus angelfish, Centropyge interrupta aka the Japanese pygmy angelfish, yellow barbell goatfish, an undescribed butterflyfish species and table corals part of new coral speciesdiscovered in the area all collected just for this exhibit.
At 4,400 gallons, the display is truly unique and truly a slice of Hawaii (make sure you check out the time-lapse aquascaping video above). The display features 65 species of fish with plans to eventually house 300 and even includes two species of corals discovered while collecting livestock for the display.
“Most scientists go their entire life without finding anything new. So you can imagine the treasures and undiscovered knowledge that’s up in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands,” said Dr. Andrew Rossiter, director of the Waikiki Aquarium.
“It’s very unusual for a public institution to have things that unusual on display,” said Dr. Randy Kosaki, scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
NOAA is the managing agency of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument that is home over 7,000 marine species, a quarter of which are found no where else in the world. Everything in the exhibit required federal permission to be removed from the protected islands.
We can just imagine how stunning this display is early on in its lifespan. We are looking forward to seeing the reef mature and the incredible diversity of life they plan on showcasing. If you happen to get to Waikiki, make sure you go check it out.