National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Urges Policymakers to Keep Effective Measures Protecting Pacific Marine Monuments

The 2020 State of the Monument report for Papahānaumokuākea showed that active management measures are effective in protecting these marine environments

Opening Pacific monuments to commercial fishing would undermine protections that are working and would not benefit the fishing industry


Silver Spring, Md. – October 22, 2020 – Following the release of the 2020 State of the Monument report, which showed that Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument benefits from limits on human impact but remains a fragile ecosystem, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and hundreds of supporters urged policymakers to keep in place restrictions on commercial fishing within Pacific marine monuments.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs jointly released the State of the Monument report. It found that most of the habitats within Papahānaumokuākea remain in good condition, owing to the science-based management practices in place to protect them. Lost fishing gear as well as climate change impacts including, coral bleaching, invasive algae growth and intense storms threaten the ecosystem.

In its letter to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, signed by 202 ocean advocates, the Foundation explains that opening up Pacific monuments would undermine the health and resilience of these special places and undermine fishery conservation efforts. In fact, according to a recent study in Nature, the Hawaii longlining fleet’s catch and its catch per unit effort increased since the monuments’ designations. 

Marine national monuments protect areas of cultural, scientific, and historic significance to our nation. The Pacific Marine Monuments were created based on science, and ongoing research, including the 2020 State of the Monument report, demonstrates even greater reason to continue their protection.


Chip Weiskotten

Director of Strategic Communications



The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve America’s maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at