Obama Plans Huge Protected Marine Area 08/26 06:23
The White House says that President Barack Obama will expand a national
monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world's largest marine protected
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says that President Barack Obama will
expand a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world's
largest marine protected area.
Obama's proclamation will quadruple in size a monument originally created by
President George W. Bush in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National
Monument will contain some 582,578 square miles, more than twice the size of
Obama will travel to the monument next week to mark the designation and cite
the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change.
The designation bans commercial fishing and any new mining, as is the case
within the existing monument. Recreational fishing will be allowed through a
permit, as will be scientific research and the removal of fish and other
resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices. Some fishing groups have
voiced concerns about what an expansion of the marine national monument would
mean for their industry.
Sean Martin, the president of the Hawaii Longline Association, said he was
"disappointed" by Hawaii Gov. David Ige's decision to support expanding the
monument. He said the monument's expansion would be based on political and not
Hawaii's longline fishing fleet supplies a large portion of the fresh tuna
and other fish consumed in Hawaii. Martin has previously estimated the fleet
catches about 2 million pounds of fish annually from the proposed expansion
The White House is describing the expansion as helping to protect more than
7,000 species and improving the resiliency of an ecosystem dealing with ocean
acidification and warming. A fact sheet previewing the announcement states that
the expanded area is considered a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.
Shipwrecks and downed aircraft from the Battle of Midway in World War II dot
the expansion area. The battle marked a major shift in the war. Obama will
travel to the Midway Atoll to discuss the expansion.
With the announcement, Obama will have created or expanded 26 national
monuments. The administration said Obama has protected more acreage through
national monument designations than any other president.
The White House said the expansion is a response to a proposal from
Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz and prominent Native Hawaiian leaders. The federal
government will also give Hawaii's Department of Natural Resources and Office
of Hawaiian Affairs a greater role in managing the monument, an arrangement
requested by Schatz and Gov. David Ige.