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.
Pu’uhonua: A Place of Sanctuary
The Cultural and Biological Significance of the proposed expansion for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.