Where has all the Limu Gone?

Where has all the Limu Gone? Maui used to have an abundant resource of edible and useful seaweed. It was harvested, eaten, and utilized as part of the traditional Hawaiian culture and in more modern times. Throughout history Maui beaches and shorelines were synonymous with seaweed. In the modern era there had been so much seaweed and algae (including both native and non-native varieties) that huge rafts of seaweed would wash ashore on many beaches building up daily. Many people picked up the fresh limu daily, for food and for other uses. If left exposed on the beach, the seaweed would start rotting and could get quite stinky. This “stinky seaweed” problem was even the cause of many complaints, to the point where some resorts had even dedicated large beach-cleaning machines to clear away the almost daily deposits of seaweed. Huge seaweed deposits were common sites on, the north shore, south shore, and west side. But in the last 2 decades, most of that has suddenly disappeared? So why after so many decades of excessive seaweed did it suddenly vanish on all three coastlines?

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Beachmaster tractor clearing away seaweed deposits on a Kihei Beach, Maui Hawaii.