Papahānaumokuākea Monument Celebrates 10 Years

June 15, 2016, 2:01 PM HST · Updated June 15, 2:11 PM
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Red pencil urchin at Papahānaumokuākea. Photo: James Watt

Red pencil urchin at Papahānaumokuākea. Photo: James Watt

Governor David Ige today issued a special proclamation to honor the ten-year anniversary of the establishment of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The proclamation declares June 15, 2016 as “Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Day” in Hawaiʻi.

Staff from the Monument’s seven co-managing agencies were present in the Governor’s office at the State Capitol for the announcement.

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most critically endangered marine mammals in the United States. Photo at PapahānaumokuākeaCredit: James Watt

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most critically endangered marine mammals in the United States.
Photo at PapahānaumokuākeaCredit: James Watt

On June 15, 2006, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument was established by Presidential Proclamation 8031, creating the largest marine protected area in the world at the time. A year later, it was given its Hawaiian name, Papahānaumokuākea.

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The Monument was expressly created to protect an exceptional array of both natural and cultural resources, and also ushered in a new genre of marine conservation: large-scale marine protected areas.

When Papahānaumokuākea was first created, it was the largest marine protected area on the planet. Then, less than 1% of the ocean was protected. Today there are 19 LSMPAs (formally established or government declared), totaling more than 10.5 million km2 or nearly 3% of the global oceans. In all, if the 19 sites were put together, they would be the second largest country in the world, bigger than the United States.

This year, Papahānaumokuākea celebrates a decade of accomplishments made in cooperative conservation management, restoration and discovery. July 30, 2016 will mark Papahānaumokuākea’s six year anniversary as the nation’s first (and still only) UNESCO World Heritage site.

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