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Support the New National Marine Sanctuary in Hawaiian Seas

On November 19th, NOAA initiated the process to designate portions of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a national marine sanctuary. This designation would build on existing management by adding conservation benefits and enhancing long-term protection of these areas.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is initiating the process to consider designating marine portions of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a national marine sanctuary. This designation would add the conservation benefits and permanency of a national marine sanctuary to safeguard resources in the marine portions of the monument. Public comment will be accepted on the proposal through Jan. 31, 2022.

The public can comment on the proposal until Jan. 31, 2022, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov. The docket number is- NOAA-NOS-2021-0114.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is the largest contiguous fully-protected conservation area under the U.S. flag, encompassing an area of 582,578 square miles of the Pacific Ocean, This is an area larger than all the country’s national parks combined. These waters host the highly endangered Hawaiian monk seal, threatened green turtles, several species of sharks and several species found nowhere else on earth. The large reef systems and protected waters in the monument are significant contributors to the biological diversity of the ocean.

The sanctuary designation process will not change the area’s status as a marine national monument. However, it will add the protections of a national marine sanctuary to the monument’s waters. The co-management structure that is a hallmark of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will continue, and the process to designate a national marine sanctuary will be conducted in concert with the monument’s co-managing agencies.

The spiritual and cultural associations of the Papahānaumokuākea by Native Hawaiians will be a foundational element in the management of these sacred waters.

As Kalani Quiocho, Cultural Resources Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Region at the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, explained:

“Sanctuary designation doesn’t change the monument designation, nor the co-management framework…designation of would supplement & complement, as well as enhance, these existing authorities and regulatory frameworks.”

Public comment periods are now open for both designations. Add your voice for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary here, and learn more about Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

HOW TO COMMENT

NOAA is inviting the public to comment on the range of issues to be considered for the designation of a national marine sanctuary, including potential boundaries; impacts on historic properties; resources that would be protected by a sanctuary; and the potential socioeconomic, cultural, and biological impacts of sanctuary designation. The information the agency receives during the comment period will be used to develop draft designation documents including a draft sanctuary management plan, proposed sanctuary regulations, and terms of designation. 

The public can comment on the proposal until Jan. 31, 2022, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov. The docket number is- NOAA-NOS-2021-0114.

Comments may also be mailed if postmarked by Jan. 31, 2022. Comments should be addressed to:

PMNM-Sanctuary Designation
NOAA/ONMS
1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg 176
Honolulu, HI 96818

Please support our work driving the goals of achieving 30% marine protection under marine managed areas by 2030 from California to the Coral Triangle.