Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that he supports the proposed fourfold expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

“There has been a tremendous debate locally on this issue, and I have met with both proponents and opponents listening closely to the concerns of both,” Ige said in a letter Wednesday to President Barack Obama.

“While the expansion to the 200-mile (Exclusive Economic Zone) boundary will present some challenges in the short term, it carefully balances the very real human needs of today with the future health of the ecosystem that sustains life in these precious Hawaiian Islands,” he said.

Governor David Ige presser announcing a deal with the United Public Worker union at Maui Hospitals. 12 aug 2016
Gov. David Ige, seen here during a press conference earlier this month, announced Thursday that he supports expanding Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The governor said he weighed concerns from commercial longline fishermen, determining they’d experience “no material decrease” in annual catch.

He said he appreciated how the White House officials reached out to state officials and others to gather input even though it’s out of state jurisdiction.

The proposal asks Obama to expand the monument by using his executive authority under the Antiquities Act, which is how President George W. Bush initially created it in 2006.

Ige also took the opportunity to ask the president to look at the impact of purse-seine fishing on the health of tuna fisheries.

“A related issue that has emerged from my review is the inter-relationship between the much larger purse-seine fishing industry in the Pacific and the smaller longline fishing industry, and the relative impact on the health of the tuna fisheries and on the Hawaii-based fishing industry,” Ige said. “I strongly urge you to direct federal agencies to investigate the equitable balance of the fisheries in international treaty negotiations with regard to economics and fishery sustainability.

Read the full letter below.

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