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Marine Conservation Institute Says That Review of Monuments in Executive Order Could Signal Beginning of Slow Attack on Public Lands and Oceans

Washington D.C.— Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in securing strong protection for the oceans’ most important places, denounced the President’s Executive Order to undertake a federal review of land and ocean monuments established by three previous presidents. The new administration’s executive order requiring agencies, like the Department of Interior, to review the last 20 years of presidential monument creation, appears to be a veiled attack on public monuments and parks in response to political pressure from narrow, self-interested groups in Utah and the western Pacific. These interest groups have prevailed on the Administration despite substantial evidence that monuments and parks improve local economies. [1]  Eliminating or shrinking monuments is therefore likely to hurt local economies, not help them as opponents of monuments argue. Marine monuments certainly bring overwhelming benefits to ocean health and biodiversity while impacting commercial fishing to a very limited degree.[2]

Dr. Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute said, “Marine Conservation Institute produced the scientific assessment that justified several of the marine monuments in the Pacific. The areas that have been preserved through monument status contain an astounding diversity of marine life, historical significance and cultural importance to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. The value of commercial fishing in these areas is miniscule in comparison to the conservation benefits for overfished tuna populations and ocean ecosystems.”

Since 1906, 16 presidents – Republican and Democratic alike- have established over 150 monuments on lands and waters owned by all Americans.[3] This process – including establishing the scientific, biological, historical or cultural significance of each proposed site and public support for the boundaries, management plan and designation – is well established. It is an extensive process that almost every monument has gone through. As testament to public and political acceptance of this process, Congress has revoked monument designation on very few occasions.[4]  The vast majority of Americans support a President’s ability to create parks and monuments and the existing ones already created.[5] As testament to the scientific wisdom of these designations, many monuments have subsequently been turned into iconic national parks – like the Grand Canyon—owing to their unique characteristics and public appeal.

Dr. Morgan continued, “The Pacific Marine National Monuments –Pacific Remote Island, Rose Atoll, Marianas Trench and Papahānaumokuākea —all had tremendous public support from citizens, traditional leaders and the Hawaii congressional delegation before they were established. This is not an ‘ocean grab’ by the Federal Government; this is our government protecting natural and cultural resources that belong to all Americans in perpetuity for the benefit of all of us and terrestrial and marine wildlife. Importantly, the marine monuments will also help create resilience against the impacts of ocean warming and acidification that are sweeping through these regions.”


About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. To enhance marine protection efforts in the US and around the globe, Marine Conservation Institute has also built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database at

For more information on Marine Conservation Institute, please go to:;

For more information on the specifics of the marine monuments, please go to:


For more information, media and bloggers only, please contact:

Mike Gravitz, Director of Policy and Legislation

Marine Conservation Institute

Email –

Phone- +1 301 351 5052


Dr. Lance Morgan, President

Marine Conservation Institute

Email – Lance.

Phone- +1 707 217 8242