A tsunami makes its way to the shores of Japan after a devastating earthquake in March of 2011.
HONOLULU (AP) - Researchers who have returned from an expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands say the pristine coral reef systems there appear to be healthy, thriving and safe from debris from the tsunami that hit Japan last year.
The scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration returned from the 24-day trip on Friday.
Scott Godwin, the expedition's chief scientist, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said researchers conducted 472 dives and 138 reef surveys. They found no widespread coral or fish disease outbreaks and no evidence of coral bleaching.
He said the presence of sharks indicates there's a lot of marine life there to support the larger predators.
The remote islands northwest of Hawaii's main, populated islands are home to the country's largest protected marine sanctuary.
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