As Epeli Hau‘ofa, the famous Pacific Island anthropologist, once wrote: The sea: “…shapes the character of this planet,… it is a major source of our sustenance, … the sea is our pathway to each other and to everyone else, the sea is our endless saga…, the ocean is in us.”
Here at Marine Conservation Institute we couldn’t agree more. We are working hard to ensure that President Obama hears Epeli Hau’ofa’s compellingly beautiful words – and that he takes action by expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to include not only the remote islands and their near shore waters, but also the deep waters, which are life sustaining for seabirds, sharks, sea turtles and whales. If he does so, it would be the largest marine protected network on earth. Please help us make that happen NOW by clicking here and signing your name to our petition.
Last night in Honolulu an estimated 400 people showed up to the only in-person hearing on the monument expansion proposal, most of them supporting a larger monument. Marine Conservation Institute, other environmental activists, Hawaiian elders and local fishermen passionately advocated for the expanded protection of the marine area. But commercial fisherman also showed up last night with overblown claims that the expansion would put them out of business. Short on the real facts, they alleged that protected areas would irreparably damage their fishing businesses and harm consumers. Yet over the last 20 years, less than 6% of the Hawaiian longline fleet’s catches have come from the areas that might be newly protected. And the Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna they chase have had such sharp population declines in recent years that an international fishery management agency is working on conservation measures.
This makes it even more important for you to add your voice to this discussion today. Please tell President Obama that you want the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument fully expanded and strongly protected so that this part of our ocean stays as unspoiled as possible.
In 50 years, when your children or grandchildren ask what you did to help save the earth and its oceans from destructive overfishing and the impact of climate change, you want to proudly say you had a role in creating the largest marine protected network on earth! We are also in midst of gathering comments from respected political and cultural leaders across the Pacific islands who support preserving this area of our ocean as part of their heritage. Please join them and tell President Obama to protect our oceans, not just for you, but for future generations.