NOAA Considers Marine Sanctuary off Hawaiian Islands

NOAA announced it is initiating the process to consider designating the marine portions of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a national marine sanctuary. This designation would build on existing management in the marine portions of the monument by adding the conservation benefits and enhanced long-term protection of a national marine sanctuary.

The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Report for Fiscal Year 2021 directed NOAA to initiate the process to designate the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a national marine sanctuary to supplement and complement, rather than supplant, existing authorities. Stakeholders and partners, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council and the State of Hawai’i, supportoffsite link the current sanctuary designation process.

Since the designation of the site as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve by President Clinton in 2000, the designation as a marine national monument by President Bush in 2006, and the expansion of the monument by President Obama in 2016, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has been a key partner and co-managing agency in the management of Papahānaumokuākea. NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Hawaiʻi and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs co-manage the monument, and that hallmark co-management structure will continue. This initiative is being conducted in cooperation with the co-trustees.