Resource support

Hawaii Governor signs bills in support of World Oceans Day

Palmyra Atoll Photo credit Erik Oberg Island Conservation

(BIVN) – On June 8, Governor David Ige signed into law four aquatic protection bills and announced his support for the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

These actions marked the 30th anniversary of World Oceans Day.

In an address to the Kewalo Basin Kupu Hoʻokupu Center, the governor said the new laws “reflect the Legislature’s earnest and continuing efforts to provide more ocean protections statewide.” According to the state, the main objectives of each bill signed are:

  • HB 1653 (Act 035) – Strengthens aquatic resources penalties to increase compliance, to ensure just, reasonable, and effective penalties for violations. Establishes a flexible system of tiered administrative fines.
  • SB 2767 (Act 034) – Provides funding to DLNR to support the deployment, replacement, and maintenance of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). FADs are an important resource for anglers to target productive and sustainable fisheries such as Mahi Mahi and Ono. The absence of FADs can result in less fish for consumption and increased operational costs for fishermen. On average, about 15 personal data disappear each year.
  • SB 3330 (Law 031) – Establishes a three-year pilot program to assess the carrying capacity of selected areas of the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD), in light of threats to marine life. Leads the monitoring, documentation and evaluation of the effectiveness of mandatory and voluntary closures of high traffic areas in the MLCD.
  • SB 204 (Law 032) – Gives DLNR legal authority to use in-place fee mitigation to restore, create, enhance, and preserve aquatic habitats or resources as compensatory mitigation to offset adverse impacts inevitable incidents such as ship groundings.

“The Holomua Marine 30 X 30 initiative, which we launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016, calls for effective management of Hawaii’s coastal waters with 30% marine management area of by 2030. These four new laws, collectively, along with the previous measures, will certainly bring us much closer to achieving this goal over the next eight years,” Governor Ige said.

“We all know how essential our coastal ocean waters are to life in Hawai’i. While much work remains to be done, and there is certainly urgency due to global warming, these laws will help move Hawai’i closer to its overall goal of effectively managing as much of our ocean waters and resources as possible in the face of unprecedented change. natural and man-made threats,” said Suzanne Case, president of the Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources.

During the same ceremony, Governor Ige expressed his full support for the planned expansion of the Pacific Outlying Islands Marine National Monument, which would make it the largest marine protected area (MPA) in the world.

“Here in the Pacific, the ocean connects us. The remote islands of the Pacific are some of the last wild and healthy marine ecosystems in the world, largely due to the lack of human activity. I agree that the expansion of this Marine National Monument is politically feasible, culturally supported and builds on the work already done to keep this part of the Pacific Ocean healthy and abundant,” Governor Ige said.

From DLNR State:

The monument was created in 2009 by President George W. Bush and later expanded by President Barack Obama in 2014. On June 1, the Pacific Outlying Islands Coalition asked President Biden to expand the monument further. According to the coalition, full protection is needed in the waters around Howard and Baker Islands, as well as Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll.

The marine monument currently comprises 789,141 square miles and the proposed expansion would add another 425,639 square miles to the monument.

Extensive research on Palmyra Atoll and other Pacific islands over the past twenty years has confirmed the strong ecological connection between pelagic fish, foraging birds and coral reef communities. The areas’ seamounts create productive, nutrient-rich hotspots. Foraging seabirds bring these nutrients back to their island nesting grounds which feed the surrounding coral reef communities. Protecting these ocean waters is essential to this cycle.

Proponents say the expansion would honor the memory and sacrifice of members of Hui Panala’au, 130 mostly Native Hawaiian men who were sent to Howland, Baker and Jarvis Islands from 1935 to 1942, which enabled the United States to claim jurisdiction over the region.

They also note that the Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which the State of Hawaii co-manages with federal partners and the Bureau of Hawaiian Affairs, is the only intact cultural travel seascape in the Hawaiian Islands. “Extending protection could also preserve the remote islands of the Pacific as a first classroom for ancestral travel, preserving and promoting the culture and history of the Pacific Sea Peoples,” according to the coalition. .