(KHON/CNN/Meredith) -- While tourists and residents may be unhappy about Hawaii's stay-at-home order, it’s the opposite for the marine life.
The absence of scuba divers and snorkelers is bringing new life to the coral reefs around Oahu.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people visit areas like Hanauma Bay and Shark's Cove daily. In the few weeks that these areas have been closed, researchers say they've already seen big improvements in the ecosystem.
Marine life seems to be enjoying the break from humans.
Brian Neilson with the Division of Aquatic Resources said he has received many reports of more fish being present in areas like Molokini Crater.
“Also reports of spinner dolphins in bays in west Hawaii that are just much more prevalent, just seeing different behaviors and activity we haven't seen in years,” Neilson said.
However, fewer biologists are out studying impacts due to the stay-at-home order, so they aren't able to test things like the water quality.
“Our best-case scenario is if we are able to get biologists out in the field before the flood gates open again for tourism to come back, so we have a couple at least a couple of weeks to get out there and document these observations,” Neilson said.
Over at Hanauma Bay, they're seeing more fish closer to the shoreline.
Kuulei Rogers, a researcher with the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, said fish are coming closer to shore than we would normally see. He also said the water clarity looks better.
At Shark’s Cove, the group Malama Pupukea-Waimea has seen some notable changes as well.
Jenny Yagodich, the director of education with Malama Pupukea-Waimea, said the tops of the rocks are all covered in algae, which is great for the ecosystem.
“Normally, all the [human] feet scrub all that [algae] off, and we don't get to see that. So we are starting to see way more algae popping up in places we haven't seen it before,” Yagodich said. “It's a blessing, people giving it a break so it can do what it does best, so it can replenish and grow and provide for us in the long run.”