August 15 is the new deadline for submission of comments on the Trump administration’s decision to review all national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments designated and/or expanded since April 28, 2007.
Of the 11 protected areas that are subject to the review, five are in the Central and Western Pacific. In addition to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument covering the area around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (expanded August 26, 2016), other protected areas in the region that are subject to the review include the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (designated January 6, 2009), the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (expanded July 26, 2012), the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (designated January 6, 2009, expanded September 25, 2014), and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument 1 (designated January 6, 2009).
Comments may be made online at the portal regulations.gov, https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066.
On July 10, the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council submitted comments. “The bottom-line is that Marine National Monument designations in the Western Pacific Region are unnecessary for the conservation and management of fishery resources and their fishing provisions should be vacated,” wrote council chair Ed Ebisui and executive director Kitty Simonds. “This would not leave these waters void of management controls, as there exists a comprehensive suite of fishing regulations developed over the past several decades under the MSA that remain in the Code of Federal Regulations.” (To read the entire letter, see: http://www.wpcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Attachment-1_5-9-17-Letter-to-Sec.-Ross-re-Monument-review-with-attachments-rev-eg1.pdf)
For additional information on the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, see: http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov.
The review of the marine sanctuaries and monuments is being undertaken following Executive Order 13795, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” signed by Donald Trump on April 28.