Policy Recommendations for the Northwest Hawaiian Islands

The National Marine Sanctuary Program under NOAA required an environmental policy analysis for the designation of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary, with a particular focus on the compatibility of commercial fishing with the proposed sanctuary. Working documents were prepared summarizing the state of knowledge of the fisheries and related ecological considerations for each of the four commercial fisheries (precious corals, lobster, bottomfish and pelagics), as well as subsistence fishing and marine zoning of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.

The analysis resulted in a determination that commercial fishing is incompatible with the goals of the proposed Sanctuary. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands, the most isolated and pristine coral reef ecosystem in the world, has since been designated a National Marine Monument with all commercial fishing phased out. This work was completed under contract with Sustainable Resources Group, Intl.