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June 15, 2007

Keeley Belva
808.397.2660 ext. 239

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF PAPAHĀNAUMOKUĀKEA MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT DESIGNATION CELEBRATED: Accomplishments include new name, protective measures, research, education and outreach

One year ago today, President George W. Bush created the world's largest fully-protected marine conservation area in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in order to further protect the area's pristine islands, coral reefs, unique native species and cultural and historic resources. In the first year of the designation of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, significant steps have been taken to implement the President's action, including interagency cooperative agreements, education and outreach efforts and research, among others.

Memorandum of Agreement:
In December 2006, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and Hawai'i Governor Linda Lingle signed a Memorandum of Agreement establishing and defining the relationship between the co-trustees of the monument. Co-trustees are Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the State of Hawai'i.

Protective Measures:
In August 2006, the agencies published joint regulations to implement the President's proclamation and ensure resource protection. In April 2007, the U.S. submitted proposals to the International Maritime Organization that, if implemented, will help to reduce threats to the monument posed by international shipping. Recently, the co-trustees agreed on a joint permitting system that will increase efficiency for applicants. In addition, the State of Hawai'i, with the support of NOAA and FWS, submitted an application nominating the monument to be considered for the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List.

Monument Named:
On March 2, 2007 in Honolulu, First Lady Laura Bush announced Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as the new name of the site after a visit to Midway Atoll. The name comes from a Hawaiian tradition concerning the genealogy and formation of the Hawaiian Islands. Papahānaumoku (who is personified in the earth) and Wākea (who is personified in the expansive sky) are two of the most recognized Hawaiian ancestors. Their union resulted in the "birthing" of the archipelago. "Papa" means "foundational earth,  referencing the low, flat islands. "Ākea" provides the imagery of the "expanse of space." Papahānaumokuākea is a name to encourage resource abundance and energize the continued procreative forces of earth, sea and sky.

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