Alexandria, VA – On Aug. 26 President Barack Obama announced a vast expansion of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, known as Papahanaumokuakea, out to 200 miles or the limits of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, creating the world’s largest marine protected area.
In 2006, President George W. Bush created the monument with a boundary which extended to 50 miles and excluded recreational fishing.
The new Presidential Proclamation moves to conserve the physical and living marine resources within the Monument’s waters. All commercial resource extraction activities including commercial fishing, oil exploration and mineral extraction are prohibited in the expanded areas.
Non-commercial fishing, such as recreational fishing and resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices, are permitted in the expanded area. NOAA and the Department of the Interior will be responsible for managing the expanded marine monument and have been given three years to put forward implementing regulations. President Obama’s action follows a proposal put forward by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Hawaiian state officials and Native Hawaiian leaders.