Papahanaumouakea Marine National Monument

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Papahanaumokuakea (pronounced Pa-pa-hah-now-moh-koo-ah-keh-ah) Marine National Monument was first established by President George W. Bush in 2006 and then quadrupled in size by President Barack Obama in 2016 via their executive authority under the Antiquities Act.

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The Monument

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was first established by President George W. Bush in 2006 and then quadrupled in size by President Barack Obama in 2016 via their executive authority under the Antiquities Act.

The 583,000-square-mile Pacific Ocean reserve — the world’s second largest protected place — is home to millions of birds and 7,000 marine species, endangered plants and animals, and critters found nowhere else. And scientists continue to discover new species.

The monument includes dozens of tiny islands, atolls and shoals that span some 1,300 miles northwest of the eight Main Hawaiian Islands.

Access is restricted without a permit. Commercial fishing, mining and development are prohibited, though there have been efforts under President Donald Trump to loosen protections.

Issues

Papahanaumokuakea remains under constant threat. Marine debris plagues shorelines, plastics fill the bellies of birds, native ecosystems battle invasive species and the effects of climate change — especially sea level rise, a warming ocean and stronger storms — present challenges to the monument’s future.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and state Office of Hawaiian Affairs jointly manage the monument.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are valued for their cultural, historic and scientific importance. Papahanaumokuakea has layers of protection that began more than a century ago with President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes national wildlife refuges.

Papahanaumouakea Marine National Monument
‘Devastation’ Discovered In Deep Sea From Industrial Fishing Cory Lum/Civil Beat

‘Devastation’ Discovered In Deep Sea From Industrial Fishing

But without a $2 million donation, it may be the last expedition for the Hawaii-based research submarines and support vessel that conducted the study.

Should Papahanaumokuakea Be Open For Business? Courtesy: NOAA

Should Papahanaumokuakea Be Open For Business?

GOP lawmakers want restrictions lifted on fishing, mining and energy exploration — even though experts say there is no oil and gas there.

The State Of Coral In The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Courtesy: Stephen Matadobra/NOAA

The State Of Coral In The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

A scientific expedition that just wrapped up collected information expected to help understand how reefs are faring in the face of climate change.

Papahanaumokuakea Isn’t Targeted By Trump — At Least So Far Caleb McMahan/Hawaiian Fresh Seafood

Papahanaumokuakea Isn’t Targeted By Trump — At Least So Far

But two other marine monuments in the Pacific would shrink if Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s proposal is approved.

How Wespac Is Twisting Words To Allow More Fishing Courtesy: Wespac

How Wespac Is Twisting Words To Allow More Fishing

Responding to a lawsuit and presidential proclamation, the Pacific fishery council is reconsidering what “non-commercial fishing” and “cultural fishing” should mean.

Emergency Meeting Held To Oppose Trump Weakening Marine Monuments Courtesy: Kelvin Gorospe/NOAA

Emergency Meeting Held To Oppose Trump Weakening Marine Monuments

UPDATED A marine sanctuary advisory group wants to block opening Papahanaumokuakea to energy exploration or mining.

Why The Fishing Industry Wants More Say On Papahanaumokuakea NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration

Why The Fishing Industry Wants More Say On Papahanaumokuakea

As federal officials sift through public comments on national monuments, supporters of Hawaii commercial fishermen say they merit special consideration.

535 Scientists Want Trump To Leave Hawaii’s Marine Monument Alone Cory Lum/Civil Beat

535 Scientists Want Trump To Leave Hawaii’s Marine Monument Alone

The group signed a letter emphasizing how protected reserves help the economy and biodiversity.

The Fight Over Papahanaumokuakea Just Escalated Courtesy: Wespac

The Fight Over Papahanaumokuakea Just Escalated

It’s not just Wespac that’s lobbying President Trump to undo marine monument protections in the Pacific.

100,000 Pounds Of Debris Hauled Out Of Papahanaumokuakea Courtesy: NOAA

100,000 Pounds Of Debris Hauled Out Of Papahanaumokuakea

The marine junk from the reefs and shores of Midway and Kure atolls was brought to Honolulu, where it will be incinerated.

Scientists See ‘Glimmer Of Hope’ For Hawaiian Monk Seals Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Scientists See ‘Glimmer Of Hope’ For Hawaiian Monk Seals

The endangered species, which is endemic to Hawaii, is growing in population after decades of decline.

Wespac Still Pushing Obama To Lift Marine Monument’s Fishing Ban Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Wespac Still Pushing Obama To Lift Marine Monument’s Fishing Ban

The federal advisory body’s leaders want a five-year delay of the commercial fishing prohibition around Papahanaumokuakea.