Fishery council rebukes effort to develop Distant Pacific Islands Marine Nationwide Monument

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A Hawaii-based coalition’s effort to develop the Distant Pacific Islands Marine Nationwide Monument is getting pushback from the fishery council crated by Congress to supervise that space of the Pacific.

The nationwide monument makes up almost 500,000 sq. miles of open ocean, coral reefs and island habitats south of Hawaii.

The Pacific Distant Islands Coalition needs to increase the monument round two units of islands from 50 miles to 200 miles.

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“Places like these remote islands, atolls and reefs represent some of the priority areas that we need to protect that would have minimal impact to other interests, such as fishing,” stated coalition member Kekuewa Kikiloi.

However the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Administration Council, assembly in Honolulu this week, has taken a tough stand in opposition to the proposal, saying it could take away jobs in American Samoa, the place about 85% of the financial system relies on the tuna business.

“We have some concerns because this is going to impact not only the U.S. fishermen, but also the fishermen that support these small communities,” stated council chair Archie Soliai. He’s additionally the director of the American Samoa Division of Marine and Wildlife Assets.

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On high of that, Soliai stated the smaller islands weren’t consulted.

“I didn’t think that Hawaii in support of the proposed expansion showed alofa, or love, aloha, to American Samoa,” he stated.

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Supporters of the enlargement stated there can be a number of conservation advantages.

“Expanding the Pacific Remote Islands is really an intentional act that we can take now to do our part as human beings in perpetuity for future generations,” stated Naia Lewis, one other coalition member.

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“Over the past two decades I’ve sort of dedicated my life to the establishment of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, and there’s so much good that came out of that effort,” stated Kikiloi.

Soliai stated the enlargement may occur at any time with President Biden’s signature.

With out public hearings, he stated that will be unfair.

“We certainly feel that conservation is very important to sustaining our resources, but it’s got to be science-based,” Soliai stated. “There’s got to be evidence that there will conservation benefits, and that has not been shown.”

The fishery council stated it could inform the White Home of its issues. A spokesperson for the coalition stated it’s nonetheless hopeful the president will approve the enlargement.

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