Monday, August 15, 2016

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING EXPANSION OF PAPAHANAUMOKUAKEA MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT

The Office of Senator Brian Schatz sent out this FAQ regarding the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and I thought it was worth resharing.  Here is is copied and pasted below:
Q: Why expand PMNM?

A: The best scientific data available support expansion since it will strengthen the health of the Pacific Ocean and directly benefit Hawaii’s fishing industry by creating an area that protects tuna and other marine species. In fact, 1500 scientists have reviewed the proposal and signed a letter indicating that expanding PMNM will protect and expand Hawaii’s fisheries.

Q: Will local fishermen be impacted?

A: No. Local fishermen do not go as far as the proposed monument. The local small boat fleet does not fish west of 163W Longitude so this proposal would have no impact on these fishers, and that is why Kauai Senator Ron Kouchi has publicly announced his support for the proposal.

Q: Will the proposal impact Hawaii’s longliners?

A: Not significantly. Hawaii’s longliners fish primarily for big eye tuna (ahi) in United States and international waters. That fishery is governed by an international tuna treaty that provides a strict quota, or maximum, of 3,554 metric tons. Of that quota amount, the longliners currently catch only about 5% in the proposed expansion area.

The Hawaii-based longline industry has had no difficulty in catching fish, and the expansion of the monument will not change that. In fact, in the past several years, the longliners have fished the maximum allowable amount for the year at increasingly earlier dates. In 2015, the longliners used up their quota on August 5. This year, the longliners used up their quota by July 22. Thus, it is the quota set by international treaty and not the size of the PMNM that annually disrupts the supply of ahi to local businesses and residents.

Q: Where will the longliners catch the 5% of the ahi that they currently catch in the proposed expansion area?

A: The longliners will catch ahi in the international and U.S. waters that will remain open, and are currently their preferred fishing areas.

Q: Will ahi be more expensive?

There is no credible economic evidence to support this claim. The only potential additional cost to fishermen with the proposed expansion is a possible increase in fuel. Remember that the longliners are permitted to catch the same amount of fish, they just may not do so in the Monument. Other costs to catch fish would remain the same. Fisheries science proves there is no evidence to suggest that the price of bigeye tuna will increase if expansion occurs. It is a global market, and the price of tuna is mostly set by the market in Japan, where 80% of all sashimi-grade sushi is consumed.

Q: Will Hawaii economically benefit if President Obama expands PMNN?

A: Yes. Hawaii stands to directly benefit from tourism, conferences, and research opportunities related to the expansion of PMNM. As an example, this year, Honolulu hosted the International Coral Reef Symposium in July, which resulted in approximately $9.4 million in visitor related spending. In September, Honolulu will host the World Conservation Congress, which will result in approximately $37.7 million in visitor spending and $3.6 million in tax revenues.

###

A thoughtful expansion of the PMNM will continue Hawaii’s long history of sustainable use of the land and oceans into the future, and help ensure that we can give our children the legacy of a healthy, vibrant Pacific Ocean. The PMNM also holds special significance for Native Hawaiians, and Governor David Ige has requested that OHA become a co-trustee for the PMNM, along with the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, and the State of Hawaii.

Star Advertiser Editorial: Larger Marine Preserve Makes Sense 

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