Supporters of the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea marine sanctuary have rejected a proposal from the Western Pacific Fisheries Council. WESPAC proposed allowing long-line fishing within the monument, and added the expansion would cause economic hardship on fisherman.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs expressed support for the expansion, but trustee Peter Apo broke ranks in favor of the fisherman. He questions why environmentalists are rushing to pass the expansion.
Last week fishermen exceeded this year’s big-eye tuna quota. That forced the industry to acquire permission from US territories or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to expand their quota. Supporters say the scenario demonstrates uncertainty in the market, and not a threat from an expanded sanctuary. Narissa Spies is a graduate student with the Kewalo marine lavatory.
NOAA is currently gathering comments on the proposal that would add more than four-hundred-thousand square miles to the North Hawaiian monument.
Wayne Yoshioka, HPR's Political Reporter contributed to this story.