In April, President Trump order a review of recent Marine Monument designations created since 1996 under the Antiquities Act that span at least 100,000 acres, which includes the Papahānaumokuākea and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monuments. Trump has tasked the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce to review the need for these vital protections. A public comment is currently underway and ends on July 10, 2017.
We need your help now to send a strong united voice that we want these amazing natural resources areas protected. You can click on the banner to the left or on this link to find the online petitions we are using in collaboration with so many of our coalition partners.
Science Behind the Expansion
- Monument waters protect ecosystems that are essential for more than 7,000 species–a quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Monument waters provide feeding and breeding grounds for more than 14 million birds from 22 different species.
- Monument waters protect highly mobile predators such as tiger and Galapagos sharks, and twenty-four species of whales and dolphins. Three of these species are listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered: sperm whales, fin whales, and sei whales.
- Important geological features are located in the expanded area, including more than 75 seamounts, as well as a non-volcanic ridge that extends southwest towards the Johnston Atoll. Together, these features form biodiverse hotspots in the open-ocean that provide habitat for deep-sea species, including sponges, other invertebrates, fish, and colonies of corals many thousands of years old.
- Recent expeditions to the deep-sea ecosystems discover new species on nearly every survey, including the world’s oldest organism, a 4,000-year-old deep-sea coral.
- The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and its surrounding waters are held in the highest regard and respect by Native Hawaiians, from which it is believed all life began, and to which ancestral spirits return after death.
- The expanded Papahānaumokuākea monument boundary ensures that biocultural resources are safeguarded from any extractive, commercial, or industrial activities that are incompatible with Native Hawaiian traditional beliefs.
- The elevation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to a monument Co-trustee position of Papahānaumokuākea rightfully placed the Native Hawaiian voice at all levels of decision making in the governance of Papahānaumokuākea. This act was applauded as it values the integration between traditional knowledge and contemporary science in management activities.
- Maintaining the protections keeps in tact the cultural voyaging seascape in the Hawaiian Islands, since ancient Hawaiian chiefs would voyage between the main Hawaiian Islands and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Traditional long distance voyaging and wayfinding includes observing the sun, moon, stars, and elements of the natural environment, such as migratory seabirds and leaping fish, which depend on healthy ecosystems. This practice has been revived today and is particularly exemplified by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and Hōkūleʻa, a double-hulled sailing canoe concluded its epic three-year journey around the world in June 2017. Surfrider is proud to be a partner in PVS’s and Castle Foundations Promise to Pae ‘Āina in which our hui works to collaborate on work that takes the vision of Mālama Honua and makes the Hawaiian Islands the leaders for the world.