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Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
On June 15, 2006, President Bush established the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) as the Papahānaumokuākea Hawaii Islands Marine National Monument (PMNM) by Presidential Proclamation 8031, providing permanent protection for the nearly 140,000 square miles of U.S. land and waters, thereby creating the world’s largest marine conservation area. The area includes the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge/Battle of Midway National Memorial, the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and the State of Hawaii’s NWHI Refuge. The managers of the PMNM are the NOAA (NOAA’s Fisheries Service and NOAA’s Ocean Service’s National Marine Sanctuary Program participate), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the State of Hawaii.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Management Issues in the PMNM
- Federal Bottomfish Fishery: NMFS continues its management of a small federal bottomfish fishery in the NWHI through mid June 2011, when the fishery will cease according to Proclamation 8031. Until then, NMFS will continue to implement federal requirements in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Currently, models show that the archipelago-wide population of the bottomfish management unit species (BMUS) is being overfished. This determination is based on localized depleted areas in the Main Hawaiian Islands, while BMUS in the NWHI do not indicate localized depletion. Consequently management actions to end overfishing have concentrated on MHI fisheries and cooperation with State fisheries. For more information go to Bottomfish of the Hawaiian Islands.
- Federal Crustaceans Fishery: The federal commercial lobster fishery operated in the NWHI since 1977. In 2000, NMFS took the precautionary step of suspending the NWHI lobster fishery while improving stock assessment methods. The temporary closure became permanent in 2006 when the PMNM was established.
- Recovering Listed Species: Portions of the PMNM are designated critical habitat for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and the threatened Hawaiian green turtle. A new recovery plan for the Hawaiian monk seal sets forth high priority actions that must occur in the PMNM to recover this critically endangered pinneped. NMFS also cooperates with the USFWS to recover the Hawaii population of the Green turtle, which primarily nests in the NWHI.
- Addressing Impacts of Marine Debris: NMFS cooperates with its partners to lead efforts to remove marine debris in the NWHI and find ways to prevent the further fouling by debris of our coral reefs and entanglement with listed and other species in the NWHI.
Current Monument Management Actions
- NOAA’s Fisheries Service participates in a Co-trustee relationship and is working with its partners and the public to develop and implement a system for integrated management of the PMNM. Toward this end, one major activity underway is the development of a PMNM Management Plan (PMNM Management Plan) that combines all the Co-trustee requirements and management needs and priorities into a unified plan. The Draft PMNM Management Plan and associated environmental assessment will be available for public review and comment in 2008.
Monument Regulatory Background
- 2000: The NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve was created by EO 13178 (December 2000, pdf 245kB).
- 2001: EO 13196 (January 2001, pdf 36kB) amended EO 13178 by creating permanent Reserve Preservation Areas.
- 2006: June - The PMNM was established by Presidential Proclamation 8031 (71 FR 36443) under the authority of the Antiquities Act (16 U.S.C. 431). The Proclamation establishes and regulates activities in the PMNM such as taking marine resources, conducting commercial actives, and anchoring vessels.
- 2006: August - NOAA and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued NWHI Marine National Monument Rules and Regulations 50 CFR Part 404 (August 2006, pdf 203kB). The action codified the prohibitions and management measures set forth in the Presidential Proclamation.
Also the applicable rules for activities within the State’s refuge are in the Hawaii Administrative Rules.
More Information on the Monument
- Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Website
- Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) Multi-Agency Education Project Website
- National Marine Sanctuaries NWHI Marine National Monument Expedition Website
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service NWHI Marine National Monument Website
- Citizen’s Guide to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (September 2006, pdf 2.86MB)
Memorandum of Agreement between the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service and National Marine Fisheries Service for promoting coordinated management of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands – signed 05/19/06 (May 2006, pdf 728kB)