Our Proposal

Photo Credit: Wayne Levin/NOAA
Our Proposal: Expand Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

For Native Hawaiians, our core identity and survival is tied to the ocean. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) is where we believe life originated. All resources in nature – from corals to sharks – have cultural significance for Native Hawaiians and are an embodiment of our ancestors. By expanding Papahānaumokuākea we can help protect our cultural seascapes and show future generations that preservation of the environment is preservation of our cultural traditions.

Our coalition supports Senator Schatz’s proposal, which calls to expand Papahānaumokuākea to 582,578 square miles. This would create the world’s largest marine protected area by expanding the PMNM west of 163° West Longitude out to the full 200 nautical miles of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, while preserving access for local fishermen on Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. To ensure proper care for Native Hawaiian cultural resources in the monument, the President is also being asked to designate the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) as a co-trustee on the management committee.

Photo of black coral courtesy of Chris Kelley/NOAA/HURL
Senator Schatz Proposed Expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Boundaries
Proposed-Expansion-Map-1500

January 29, 2016

Native Hawaiian leaders send President Obama a letter asking for the expansion of PMNM out to 200 nautical miles (from the current 50 nautical miles)

Download Letter (PDF)

March 25, 2016

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group (CWG) met and approved the expansion of PMNM out to the 200 nautical mile limit with exception of waters surrounding Niihau and Kauai and to designate the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as a co-trustee on the monument’s management committee.

The CWG has been in existence since 2000, originally part of the Reserve Advisory Council for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, and now under the Monument Management Board for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The group is made up of 50 individuals located across all the main Hawaiian Islands and each with a strong tie to Papahānaumokuākea. Members include Hawaiian kūpuna (elders), researchers, educators, community organizers, advocates, as well as cultural practitioners.

April 5, 2016

The CWG sent a letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality to express their support of expansion and to invite the administration “to further discuss the potential for monument expansion and to hear from and talk directly to the various stakeholders and the Native Hawaiian community”

Download Letter (PDF)

May 4, 2016

Obama administration representatives engaged in listening sessions on Oahu and Kauai with various stakeholders regarding the expansion

May 5, 2016

Expand Papahānaumokuākea coalition announces to the public a request to the President to use the Antiquities Act to expand the protection area for PMNM

Read Star Advertiser: Bigger Marine Sanctuary Spells a Bold Idea

May 26, 2016

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board voted to conditionally support the proposed boundary expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Read OHA statement on Papahānaumokuākea

June 8, 2016

The Papahānaumokuākea Reserve Advisory Council votes to support the expansion of Papahānaumokuākea. The role of the Council is to provide advice and recommendations to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

June 15, 2016

Senator Brian Schatz submits proposal to President Obama for the expansion of PMNM. At 582,578 square miles, the proposal would create the world’s largest marine protected area by expanding the PMNM west of 163° West Longitude out to the full 200 nautical miles of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, while preserving access for local fishermen on Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau by maintaining the current boundaries of the PMNM east of 163° West Longitude

Read Press Release

June, 2016

Pu‘uhonua: A Place of Sanctuary, the cultural and biological significance of the proposed expansion of PMNM report, is released
Download Report (PDF)

June 24, 2016

More than 1,500 scientists worldwide, many attending the International Coral Reef Symposium, sign a letter to President Obama urging him to expand PMNM

Download Letter (PDF)

July 1, 2016

Honolulu Star Advertiser endorses the expansion of PMNM

Read Larger marine preserve makes sense

July 15,2016

Civil Beat editorial staff endorses the expansion of PMNM

Read When It Comes To The Marine Monument, Bigger Is Better

August 1, 2016

More than 300 citizens turn out for Oahu public meeting, jointly hosted by NOAA and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, with overwhelming majority testifying in support of expansion

August 2, 2016

Public meeting held in Lihue, Kauai, jointly hosted by NOAA and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, with majority testifying in support of the expansion

August 24, 2016

Governor Ige publicly supports the expansion and the elevation of Office of Hawaiian Affairs as co-Trustee

Download Letter (PDF)

Pu’uhonua: A Place of Sanctuary

The Cultural and Biological Significance of the proposed expansion for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.