Papahânaumokuâkea: let’s mobilize for the marine reserve!


Photo: Andy Collins/NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

June 16th, 2016, the Hawaiian senator Brian Schatz, supported by all the Hawaiian community, suggests to president Barack Obama extending the “marine national Monument” of Papahânaumokuâkea. This marine reserve, registered on the heritage of the UNESCO in 2010, was created in 2006 by Georges W Bush.

This initiative had moreover inspired a vast international movement of creation of marine parks allowing, at present, a protection of 3 % of the ocean. However, these 3 % are clearly insufficient because approximately 40 % of the oceans are affected by the human activities through the overfishing or the pollution. It is thus essential to pursue the efforts for the protection of the ecosystem marine and to reach a protection recovering 30 % of the oceans as recommend it the specialists. The extension of the reserve marine of Papahânaumokuâkea joins in this sense.

EVI suggests you returning on the cultural and scientific wealth of this reserve and presenting you all the interest of this project.

A unique biodiversity 

This archipelago, situated in 250 km in the northwest of the Hawaiian coast, recovers approximately 2000 km. The marine area extends over approximately 362 075 km ² and shelters a spectacular ecosystem.


Indeed, the reserve shelters not less than 7000 marine and ground species, a quarter of which exists that in the archipelago, just like the seal Hawaiian monk in danger of extinction, the green tortoise or still of 1/5th of the species of fish of this zone.

The site also distinguishes itself by a rate of endémisme raised thanks to its biogeographical isolation, which allowed the development of a big variety of housing environments: gaps, mounts submarines, submerged benches, coral reefs, lagoons, dunes. These housing environments are crucial for the survival of numerous species in danger or vulnerable. Papahânaumokuâkea owns in particular housing environments of feeding, reproduction and nurseries for numerous species. It so welcomes the biggest colony of tropical sea birds of the world with, every year, 5,5 million birds and 14 millions of 22 different species, in a seasonal way. Hawaiian waters also count a dozen species of sharks and four commercially important species of tunas.


Photo by FWS Volunteer Sarah Youngren

Still unexplored deep waters

In this exceptional biodiversity, is added a big still unknown part. In fact, the majority of the depths of the ocean are still unexplored. The specialists estimate at approximately 10 million species living in this part of the ocean. Strongly sensitive to the disturbances, in particular to the trawling in deep water, hundreds of years would be necessary for the reconstruction of this ecosystem. From then on, the extension of this protected zone would allow to warn any destruction and would protect a significant number of species.

An ideal refuge in front of climatic disorder

According to the opinion of the specialists, the reserve of Papahânaumokuâkea, being a zone which benefits at the same time from a moderate and tropical climate, establishes an ideal refuge for the species which migrate to colder zones because of the climate change.

Furthermore, it is proved from now on that the protected zones turn out to be much more resistant in the climate change. They assure a food safety for the species living there and are less sensitive to the acidification and to the increase of the sea level. The protection of the biodiversity facilitates largely its recovery and its durability. In this context, the populations of fish move more easily in nearby waters, beyond the borders of the reserve.

To assure the future of the Hawaiians 

For the Hawaiians, Papahânaumokuâkea is a sacred place. He symbolizes the link between the man and the nature, and provides the land of welcome of souls after the death. The Hawaiian people are very close of natural and worried about its protection. During their history, they had to develop a complex management system and specific skills to survive with limited resources.

The Hawaiian population is in first place in the support of this request. The project plans in particular for the Natives to being able to keep going fishing in zones usually adequate. On the other hand, any activity of extraction or destruction, sponsored by the lobbies of peaches, would be forbidden in the zone. Nevertheless, it is advisable to specify that this part is not a major place of peach, because it represents only 5 % of the grips. Thus, the ban will pull no consequence for the commercial peach, in spite of the statements of the industries of the peach. The extension of the zone would allow the population to assure their food safety and to protect their traditions.

Barack Obama and the creation of the vastest protected marine area

Currently, the tenth marine reserve the vastest protected in the world, Papahânaumokuâkea could become the first one if Barack Obama answered positively at the request of the Hawaiian senator.

During his mandate, Barack Obama turned out to be a strong supporter of the biodiversity. In 2014, he decided to multiply by six the marine area Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, created in 2009 by Georges W Bush, reaching from now on 1,270 million square kilometers. The expansion of the marine national Monument of Papahânaumokuâkea could be for him the consecration of his mandate, especially as it is about the place of his birth.

It would establish a step forward in the protection of the marine biodiversity, essential to the good health of our planet. It would allow to assure in the long term the health of the marine ecosystem of Hawaiian waters and an inheritance in resources for the future generations. The threats outside the zone, such as the mining, the transportation of dangerous goods, the damage caused by anchors or grounding, would be postponed even farther, strengthening the health of the surrounding Pacifique.

Petition: let’s protect Papahânaumokuâkea 

Thus, to support this project, you can sign the petition thrown by Avaaz. This latter will be directly put back to the White House and the American president could announce from September the expansion of the reserve of Papahânaumokuâkea! Indeed, this one waits for a positioning of the international community to make its decision. Then let’s go, let us take a stand, we have all a role to play, seize this opportunity: sign the petition:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *