U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has yet to respond to a June 20th request to meet with the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council on his proposal to expand the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) fourfold.
Also unanswered are letters sent by the Council to President Obama on April 8 and July 14, 2016, with concerns about the impact to Hawaii’s fisheries of the proposals by Schatz and by seven Native Hawaiians in January 2016 that the President expand the monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act.
Council Chair Edwin Ebisui Jr., Executive Director Kitty M. Simonds and Vice Chairs McGrew Rice, William Sword, John Gourley and Michael Duenas reminded the Senator that the Council has federal jurisdiction over the waters within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands beyond the current monument boundaries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.
The Council told the senator “We are dismayed that you did not consult with the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council prior to distribution of your letters, which have proliferated unsubstantiated statements through the media,”
Hawaii fishermen, businessmen and chefs rallied on July 15 to publicize their concerns about the impact of the proposed expansion on their livelihood and availability of fresh local fish.
The Council asked Schatz to meet with them for a discussion to ensure his proposal “is grounded in truth and science.”