The Waikiki Aquarium has begun construction on a Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit.

The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument encompasses a chain of small islands, atolls and extensive coral reef systems stretching to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Chain. The monument is home to 7,000 marine species, a quarter of which can be found nowhere else on the planet.

“With a mission to inspire and promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of Pacific marine life, it is only fitting that the Waikiki Aquarium would dedicate resources to develop a world-class exhibit to bring the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the people,” said director Andre Rossiter. “Many of the species that will be on display are abundant around the northwestern Hawaiian islands, but are extremely rare or absent around the main Hawaiian islands.”

The exhibit is expected to cost about $300,000 and is scheduled to open next spring. The 4,000-gallon public display will feature sea life such as the yellow barbell goatfish, Japanese pygmy angelfish, table corals and masked angelfish along with interactive touch screens loaded with ecological information about the significance of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

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