AP NEWS

Ige tells Obama he supports Hawaii marine monument expansion

August 26, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said he supports expanding a marine monument in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Ige’s office said Thursday he sent a letter to President Barack Obama declaring his support for enlarging the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

He told the president that expanding the monument’s boundaries carefully balances the real human needs of today with the future health of an ecosystem that sustains life in the Hawaiian Islands.

Ige said he supports the boundary proposal submitted by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii. This would limit the expansion along the monument’s southern boundary to preserve popular fishing grounds for Hawaii fishermen.

The governor also reiterated his request that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs be made a co-trustee of the monument.

Sean Martin, the president of the Hawaii Longline Association, said he was “disappointed” by the governor’s decision to support expanding the monument. He said the monument’s expansion would be based on political and not scientific reasons.

Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet supplies a large portion of the fresh tuna and other fish consumed in Hawaii. Martin has previously estimated the fleet catches about 2 million pounds of fish annually from the proposed expansion area.