NOAA 2002-R431
Contact: Glenda Tyson
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that Hawaii Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano has approved a revised final management plan that guides the operation of NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in state waters for the next five years.

The reauthorization is the result of a strong community-based review process and includes the possibility of sanctuary protection for additional species, such as monk seals and sea turtles, within the next five years. No new regulation or boundary changes are proposed. Marine sanctuary management plans are reviewed and reauthorized in five year increments.

"We welcome our continued partnership with the state of Hawaii in protecting its marine resources and rich ocean heritage," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "Governor Cayetano shares the belief that NOAA’s sound stewardship of Hawaii’s ocean life benefits the nation as a whole."

The Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) includes areas around the islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, and parts of Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island. The sanctuary’s goal is to promote comprehensive and coordinated management, research, education and long-term monitoring for the endangered humpback whale and its habitat. Humpback whales rely on Hawaii’s islands as their migratory winter home, where they breed, calve and nurse.

During the public review process, the sanctuary received valuable input from the community and incorporated it into the final revised plan which sets sanctuary operations over the next five years. In response to overwhelming public comments received to protect additional resources, the process to include new species and habitats has been accelerated and better detailed in the final management plan.

Over the past five years, through conferences and other activities, the sanctuary has promoted Hawaiian’s leadership in marine science, community-based conservation and eco-tourism. Additionally it has developed the Maui Sanctuary Education and Visitor Center, supported more than 20 scientific research projects focused on Hawaii’s marine resources, and fostered Native Hawaiian cultural awareness. The new management plan has the support of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. More information about the sanctuary and the plan is available on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback National Marine Sanctuary website:

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration, and educational programs. Today, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources. In addition, the NMSP is now conducting a sanctuary designation process to incorporate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve into the national sanctuary system. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve would bring the total to 14.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOAA Ocean Service) manages the National Marine Sanctuary Program and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving, and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. NOAA Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats, and mitigating coastal hazards.

To learn more about NOAA Ocean Service and NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, please visit