Opposition mounts to Obama’s proposed Pacific Monument expansion

HONOLULU (WPRFMC) — August 25, 2014 – The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) has released a video compilation of concerns raised about anticipated negative consequences of the Obama Administration’s proposed expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). The Council’s video highlights a diverse group of scientists, fishermen, community members, and Council members who spoke out in opposition to the proposed Monument expansion at an August 11 Federal listening session in Honolulu.

pacific1According to those rising in opposition to the proposal, the Monument would cause substantial economic losses to local fisheries and would stifle the traditional Pacific Islands fishing culture that has sustained local communities for centuries.

Additional concerns were raised that the proposed Monument expansion would increase the domestic American seafood market’s reliance on imported seafood, often sourced from countries whose standards for fisheries management are less stringent than our own. Participants noted that, because U.S. Pacific fisheries are already some of the most highly regulated fisheries in the world, the Monument expansion would provide little in the way of additional benefits to already protected coral reefs and highly Pacific2migratory pelagic fish species.

The “town hall” listening session to gather public comments was held at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu and was hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Federal officials did not record the event. The attached video is a compilation of amateur footage taken by participants and attendees, and compiled by the WPRFMC.  Below is a list of speakers appearing in the video, listed in order of appearance:

•Ed Watamura (see photo) – Advisory Panel Chair, WPRFMC; President, Waialua Boat Club
•Edwin Ebisui – Vice Chair, WPRFMC
•Ricardo DeRosa – Purse Seine Fisherman, American Samoa
•Pierre Kleiber – Retired, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
•Makani Christensen – Commercial Fisherman
•Neil Kanemoto – President, Pacific Island Fisheries Group
•Bob Fram – President, Garden and Valley Isle Seafood
•Roy Morioka – Hawai’i Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition
•Tony Costa – Nearshore Fisherman
•Brooks Takenaka – Assistant General Manager, The United Fish Agency (The Honolulu Fish Auction)
•Frank Farm – President, Alii Holo Kai Dive Club
•Steven Lee – Hawai’i Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition
•Sean Martin – President, Hawai’i Longline Association

Source: NOAA "Each Monument in the map is outlined in a different color to connect the Monument areas with their names. The outlines do not represent Monument boundaries. Please see the key on the map for boundaries."

Source: NOAA “Each Monument in the map is outlined in a different color to connect the Monument areas with their names. The outlines do not represent Monument boundaries. Please see the key on the map for boundaries.”

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About the Author: Duggan Flanakin

Duggan Flanakin

Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with both the Texas and Arkansas Public Policy Foundations, Mr. Flanakin has a Master's in Public Policy from Regent University. During the years he spent reporting on environmental regulation in Texas and nationwide, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas.