Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Pew Charitable Trusts Background Dossier for Pacific Marine Monument
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Pew Charitable Trusts Background Dossier for Pacific Marine Monument


Published on

Pew Charitable Trusts prepared a background dossier on the proposed expansion of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, June 2014.

Pew Charitable Trusts prepared a background dossier on the proposed expansion of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, June 2014.

Published in: News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. 1 U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Proposed Monument Expansion Confidential Background Dossier Prepared by: The Pew Charitable Trusts June 2014
  • 2. 2 Table of Contents Proposed Expansion of U.S. Remote Islands Marine National Monument..................................................3 2009 Declaration of U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument...........................................3 Monument Size.............................................................................................................................................4 Unique Ecology, Biodiversity and History...................................................................................................7 Seamounts.....................................................................................................................................................7 Ecological Connectivity between Atolls.......................................................................................................9 Kingman and Palmyra.................................................................................................................................11 Wake ...........................................................................................................................................................11 Johnston ......................................................................................................................................................12 Howland, Baker, and Jarvis ........................................................................................................................12 Tuna fisheries and bycatch..........................................................................................................................13 Economic and scientific rationale...............................................................................................................16
  • 3. 3 Proposed Expansion of U.S. Remote Islands Marine National Monument The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument currently covers 212,714 square kilometers (82,129 square miles) encompassing seven islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, including Wake, Johnston, Howland and Baker, Kingman and Palmyra, and Jarvis.1 2 Of these, Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands; Palmyra Atoll; and Kingman Reef, including their terrestrial areas, reef, and waters out to 12 nm, are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Johnston Atoll and Wake Island and their waters out to 12 nm are also part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Department of Defense manages “emergent lands.” A recent article published in Nature concluded that MPA effectiveness was strongly associated with several key variables including size and isolation, among others.3 These seven atolls and islands are farther from human population centers than any other U.S. area, and extending the National Marine Monument designation to 200 nautical miles could safeguard one of the last remaining pristine areas in U.S. waters from future exploitation. 2009 Declaration of U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Through the use of the Antiquities Act, President George W. Bush was able to set these areas aside under federal jurisdiction for “the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.” According to the proclamation, “the monument includes the waters and submerged and emergent lands of the Pacific Remote Islands to the lines of latitude and longitude depicted on the accompanying maps, which lie approximately 50 nautical miles from the mean low water lines of Wake, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll.”4 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) currently manages from the mean low water line out to 12 nm, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries manages fishing- related activities from 12-50 nautical miles. It is possible to expand the monuments outward from the current area of about 50 nautical miles around each atoll and island to 200 nautical miles, the full expanse of the U.S jurisdiction surrounding each atoll.5 Commercial fishing is prohibited throughout the existing designated areas. Subject to USFWS authority, non-commercial fishing may be allowed in consultation with NOAA Fisheries and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WPFMC). Recreational fishing is restricted to specific locations in accordance with the proclamation. 6 From 50 to 200 nm (outside of the national marine monument boundary), WPFMC manages fishery resources through the “Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Pacific Remote Islands Areas” and the “Pacific Pelagic Fishery Ecosystem Plan.” Currently, there is little fishing except for tuna fishing. 1 2 3 Edgar, G. et al. Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features. Nature 506, 216–220 (2014 4 5 6
  • 4. 4 Monument Size The 5 atoll groups that make up the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument currently cover an area approximately 212,714 km2 spread over a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean. Expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to the full 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone boundary would increase the size of the area encompassed within no-take marine reserves by more than 1,700,000 km2 . These five areas together would create a series of protected areas totaling more than two million square kilometers. Chart 1: Atoll group size Site Name Area of Existing Monuments in square kilometers Area of Monument expansions in square kilometer(total, includes existing monument area) Wake Island 39069 433398 Jarvis Island 35486 318109 Howland Island and Baker Island 51896 437102 Palmyra Atoll 54050 350498 Johnston Atoll 39871 464013 TOTALS 220372 2003120 AREA ADDED (TOTAL - EXISTING) = 1782748 The first chart below compares the current Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument with other no-take areas around the world (comparisons are included for the both the aggregated total as well as the individual atolls.) Currently the individual sites rank as 8th , 9th , 11th , 12th , and 13th in size. The second chart shows where these areas would rank if expanded to the full 200 nautical mile border. The individual atolls would rank 3rd , 4th , 5th , 7th , and 8th in largest no-take areas globally.
  • 5. 5 Chart 2: Current rankings of large, no-take reserves. Marine Reserve Size (sq km) Percent No-Take No-Take Size (sq km) Chagos 640,000 100 640,000 Coral Sea 501,723 100 501,723 Papahanaumokuakea 363,000 100 363,000 Motu Motrio Hiva 150,000 100 150,000 Great Barrier Reef 344,000 34 124,000 South Orkney Islands 94,000 100 94,000 Macquarie Island 162,000 36 58,300 Kingman and Palmyra 54,021 100 54,021 Howland and Baker 53,270 100 53,270 Marianas Trench 246,000 17 42,000 Wake 36,762 100 36,762 Johnston 36,059 100 36,059 Jarvis 35,784 100 35,784 Rose Atoll 34,000 100 34,000 Phoenix Island (Kiribati) 410,000 3.7 15,000 Chart 3: Rankings of no-take reserves if Pacific Remote Islands Marine Monument is expanded Marine Reserve Size (sq km) Percent No-Take No-Take Size (sq km) Chagos 640,000 100 640,000 Coral Sea 501,723 100 501,723 Johnston 442,635 100 442,635 Howland and Baker 434,921 100 434,921 Wake 407,241 100 407,241 Papahanaumokuakea 363,000 100 363,000 Kingman and Palmyra 352,300 100 352,300 Jarvis 316,665 100 316,665 Motu Motrio Hiva 150,000 100 150,000 Great Barrier Reef 344,000 34 124,000 South Orkney Islands 94,000 100 94,000 Macquarie Island 162,000 36 58,300 Marianas Trench 246,000 17 42,000 Rose Atoll 34,000 100 34,000 Phoenix Island (Kiribati) 410,000 3.7 15,000
  • 6. 6 Chart 4: Overview of EEZ size and marine reserves by country. Country Marine Protections Australia • Australia has the 3rd largest EEZ and has protected 8% as no-take marine reserves. • Coral Sea Marine Reserve: 501,723 sq km; 100% no-take • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: 344,000 sq km; 34% no-take • Macquarie Island Marine Reserve: 162,000 sq km; 36% no-take Chile • Chile has the 11th largest EEZ and has protected 4% as no-take marine reserves. • Motu Motrio Hiva Marine Park: 150,000 sq km; 100% no take Palau • In February of this year, Palau’s President, Tommy Remengesau announced his intent to close his EEZ to industrial scale fishing and create a marine sanctuary. • Palau is an important partner to the United States. • The Pivot to the Pacific is about global security and protecting Palau’s rich marine diversity helps increase resilience to climate change. • Once finalized Palau will protect up to 80% of its EEZ as a no-take marine sanctuary. • No other country in the world has protected this much ocean--President Remengesau should be commended for his conservation leadership Kiribati • When Kiribati announces that commercial fishing will cease in the Phoenix Islands it will have protected nearly 12% of its EEZ. • Phoenix Islands Protected Area is currently on 3.7% no-take or 15,000 sq km • Once fully protected the Phoenix Islands area will be one of the largest no- take reserves in the world at 410,000 sq km. United Kingdom • In 2010, the U.K. created the largest no-take marine reserve in the world in the Indian Ocean. • With the 5th largest EEZ in the world the U.K. has protected nearly 11% of its EEZ. • Chagos Marine Reserve: 640,000 sq km; 100% no-take • South Orkney Islands Marine Protected Area: 94,000 sq km; 100% no-take United States • The U.S. has the largest EEZ in the world and we currently protect less than 6% in no-take marine reserves. By expanding the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument to the full potential of the atolls we are adding nearly 1.8 million square kilometers of fully protected reserves to the world’s oceans. This is an area greater than the size of Alaska and nearly doubles the amount of ocean ecosystems currently protected as no-take reserves. • Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument: 363,000sq km; 100% no-take • Marianas Trench Marine Monument: 246,000 sq km; 17% no-take • Rose Atoll Marine Monument: 34,000sq km; 100% no-take • Remote Pacific Islands Marine Monument: 220,732 sq km; 100% no-take • Expanded Remote Pacific Islands Marine Monument: 2,003,120 sq km; 100% no-take
  • 7. 7 Unique Ecology, Biodiversity and History “Deep coral forests occur below photic zones of all three islands at depths below 200 meters, especially at Jarvis where surveys have revealed living colonies of precious and ancient gold coral up to 5,000 years old.”7 The waters surrounding Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands have fish biomass double that of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, and 16 times that of the main Hawaiian Islands, due to the Equatorial Undercurrent that moves from west to east along the equator, creating localized nutrient- rich upwellings in the shallows next to the islands. These are three of only six islands in the entire Pacific Ocean where this phenomenon is possible.8 The reefs at Kingman and Palmyra have set a new ecological baseline for coral reefs, and they changed what we expect reefs to look like. “Kingman Reef has the greatest known fish biomass and proportion of apex predators of any coral reef ecosystem that has been scientifically studied in the world.”9 Kingman is also one of the world's most pristine coral reefs, and should serve as a baseline for future studies of coral reef microbes.10 Kingman and Palmyra have shown that there is a direct relationship between fishing and coral disease.11 Johnston Atoll has shown low levels of coral disease, which provides an important baseline, especially in relation to climate change. With marine protected areas, differences in fish-assemblage structure have been observed between fished and unfished atolls in the northern Line Islands of the central Pacific. “Fish assemblages at Palmyra and especially Kingman atolls were characterized by high total standing biomass, large average body sizes, a preponderance of apex predators and other piscivorous fishes in an inverted biomass pyramid, few and small planktivorous fishes, and herbivores dominated by non-territorial species.”12 By comparing uninhabited areas to human-impacted areas within the Pacific, one study was able to re- create missing population baselines for Pacific reef sharks and found that reef shark populations increased when human population decreased.13 Historically, Wake, Johnston, and Howland witnessed fighting during WWII. In the late 1800s, the Howland, a whaling ship, wrecked at Johnston Atoll. Amelia Earhart was flying to Howland when her plane was lost. Seamounts In the total proposed expanded area for protection in the EEZs around these five islands, there are approximately 251 seamounts,14 which are underwater mountains, rising 1,000 meters or higher from the seabed without breaking the ocean's surface. The vast majority of these seamounts are virtually unexplored, supporting biodiversity-rich communities that are some of the most poorly understood in the 7 8 9 Federal register, Vol. 76, No. 65/Tuesday April 5, 2011 10 Microbial Ecology of Four Coral Atolls in the Northern Line Islands, 11 12 unfished-atolls-northern-line-islan 13 14
  • 8. 8 world.15 Every research expedition in these waters discovers large numbers of new species,16 such as previously unrecorded species of deep-water algae, coral, and fish.17 Chart 5: Seamount located in PRIA. Site Name Seamount counts in existing monuments Seamount counts in Monument expansion areas (total, includes existing area) Wake Island 8 40 Jarvis Island 4 24 Howland Island and Baker Island 5 21 Palmyra Atoll 26 68 Johnston Atoll 10 98 TOTALS 53 251 Scientists estimate that there are as many as 10 million species inhabiting the deep sea-- biodiversity comparable to the world's richest tropical rainforests. Deep-sea species tend to be slow growing, late maturing and endemic, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction.18 Much of the biodiversity in the deep sea is concentrated around seamounts. They are home to cold-water coral reefs and forests, sponge beds, and hydrothermal vents, as well as large marine mammals, such as dolphins and whales, and an extraordinary diversity of fish, creating one of the world’s greatest marine-biological treasures.19 The relatively few number of studies conducted in these waters have observed a total of 506 shore-fish species, and 27 epipelagic species have been recorded from these five islands.20 These waters also support many marine mammals, including sei whales, sperm whales, striped dolphins, false killer whales, melon- headed whales, and spotted dolphins, frequent populations of minke and humpback whales.21 According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, “these areas represent the last refugia for fish and wildlife species rapidly vanishing from the remainder of the planet, including sea turtles, dolphins, whales, pearl oysters, giant clams, coconut crabs, large groupers, sharks, humphead wrasses, and humphead parrotfishes. Fish biomass at these islands is remarkable.”22 These remote underwater “islands” provide an important source of food due to their nutrient upwellings and strong localized currents, which attract massive quantities of plankton. At the base of the food web, 15 Mundy et al, 2010, 16 Parrish and Baco, 2006, 17 18 Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, 19 Ibid. 20 Mundy, et al, 2010, 21 22
  • 9. 9 these plankton hotspots are prime deep-sea feeding and spawning grounds, providing a pit stop for various pelagic species as they migrate through the vast open ocean.23 The deep sea is also home to remarkably rich coral systems. While more is known about shallow coral ecosystems, it is now thought that there are more coral species living at great ocean depths than in tropical shallows. These ancient corals, some as old as 8,000 years, create ornate, forest-like structures that would take hundreds of years to recover if disturbed by fishing activities such as bottom-trawling.24 These species rich waters host expansive shallow coral reefs and deep coral forests; the oldest corals observed in these deep waters are up to 5,000 years old.25 Ecological Connectivity between Atolls This collection of interconnected refuges serves as “key stepping stones for the colonization and dispersal of species between the eastern and western, and the northern and southern Pacific Ocean. Some of these refuges are also unique in that they benefit from localized upwelling from the Equatorial Undercurrent, 23 Ibid. 24 25
  • 10. 10 and others serve as destinations for additional species transported from the western Pacific by the Equatorial Countercurrent.”26 Palmyra Atoll lies within the inter-tropical convergence zone and path of the eastward moving Equatorial Countercurrent, which bring larvae of additional reef species from the more diverse West Pacific.27 The deep-sea Equatorial Undercurrent moves from west to east around these atolls and underwater seamounts, creating localized nutrient-rich upwellings in shallows next to the islands. In the entire Pacific Ocean, this only occurs in six islands (three of which are here).28 The Pacific is composed of two large gyres, the northern and southern central gyres; the complex interactions of these undercurrents contribute to overall connectivity of the deep-sea ecosystems, providing long-distance dispersal of pelagic larvae. The Pacific Equatorial Undercurrent moves at depths of 70–200 m, is approximately 450 km wide, and flows with velocities of up to 5 km/hour for a distance of up to 13,000 km. Jarvis, Howland, and Baker are in the equatorial system; Kingman and Palmyra are in the equatorial/eastern Pacific current; Hawaii, Wake and Johnston are in the center of the North Pacific gyre.29 26 Ibid 27 28 1566 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 7 / Monday, January 12, 2009 Presidential Documents, 29 Parrish and Baco, 2006,
  • 11. 11 Kingman and Palmyra The waters surrounding Kingman and Palmyra comprise one of the world’s last intact coral reef ecosystems, and its species-rich waters have a higher proportion of apex predators than any other coral reef ecosystem in the world.30 The Kingman and Palmyra reefs support three times the number of coral species found in Hawaii and the Caribbean, and five times the number of species found in the Florida Keys. 31 “Palmyra's reefs look substantially different from all others in the equatorial Pacific, containing food webs dominated by an abundance of top predators, such as sharks, which have rapidly declined elsewhere. Indeed, sharks are commonplace at Palmyra. Their presence is a sign of overall reef ecosystem health and a key reason why the atoll is one of the few places in the world where they can be studied in natural numbers across their habitat range.”32 Palmyra's waters are teeming with species, including “manta rays, mullets, fusiliers, snappers, green and hawksbill turtles, humphead parrotfish, pilot whales, humphead wrasses, sharks, other rays, jacks, goat- fish, tuna, butterflyfish, damselfish, surgeonfish, rare giant clams, black-lipped pearl shells, and pen shells.”33 Pacific bottle-nosed dolphins, spinner dolphins, and melon-headed whales frequent the waters of the Refuge, in addition to stony corals.34 Palmyra also supports an array of invertebrates, including 176 stony coral species, 17 benthic cnidarian species, 12 species of macro-invertebrates.35 Palmyra also has 29 bird species including the bristle thighed curlew.36 As one of the world’s healthiest coral ecosystems, Palmyra provides a natural laboratory for studying the impact of climate change on coral reefs. Wake Because access is restricted around Wake, there has been little pressure from the fishing industry and marine biomass and biodiversity is likely to be extremely high.37 At least 323 species of fish and approximately 100 species of coral have been reported at Wake Atoll. These waters provide refuge for many species, which are depleted globally, including several species of sharks and abundant populations of the Napoleon wrasse.38 Large schools of humphead parrotfish comprise well over half of the total fish biomass.39 Foraging populations of green turtle (listed as threatened by the Endangered Species Act), as 30 n-to-palmyra.xml 31 ibid 32 ibid 33 ibid 34 35 36 37 38 39 NOAA 2009,
  • 12. 12 well as resident populations of spinner dolphins are common.40 Five species of coral found at Wake Atoll are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Acropora aculeus, A. acuminata, A. palmerae, Montipora lobulata, and Pocillopora elegans).41 Wake Atoll hosts a healthy reef ecosystem of mostly hard (scleractinian) corals. In shallower reef areas, macroalgae are abundant.42 Abundant reef fish at Wake play the crucial role of grazers, regulating algal growth and enhancing overall coral reef health.43 The rare giant clam thrives here on shallow coral reefs.44 Johnston More than 300 species of fish have been recorded near the reefs of Johnston Atoll. Other species often found include the green turtle, reef sharks the Hawaiian monk seal, and humpback whales.45 Fifty-four species of corals have been reported at Johnston including 49 stony coral species. It supports 54 coral species, including a thriving table coral community and a dozen species found only in the Hawaiian and northern Line Islands.46 The most conspicuous species is the giant table coral (Acropora cytherea), which grows in large horizontal plates.47 The surface of the coral is covered by a thin layer of tissue containing a photosynthetic algae zooxanthella which provides energy for the coral.48 Johnston Atoll is the sole coral dispersal “stepping stone” into Hawaii.49 Coral spawn in Johnston Atoll is dispersed to the Hawaiian Islands.50 Expanding the monuments could help maintain these coral spawning pathways. Howland, Baker, and Jarvis “The waters surrounding Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands have fish biomass double that of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and 16 times that of the main Hawaiian Islands.”51 “Coral cover and biodiversity is much higher compared to Hawaii and Florida. Beyond the shallow fringing reefs and terraces, the slopes of the extinct volcanoes drop off sharply to the deep floor of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The Equatorial Undercurrent creates a localized nutrient-rich upwelling in the shallows near the islands, resulting in high fish biomasses and a high proportion of top predators. Up to 340 fish species inhabit these isolated reefs, and giant clams, sharks, and sea turtles are abundant.”52 40 41 Kenyon et al, NOAA 2013, 42 NOAA 2009, 43 Kenyon et al, NOAA 2013, 44 45 46 47 48 World Register of Marine Species, 49 50,%202006.pdf 51 1566 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 7 / Monday, January 12, 2009 Presidential Documents, 52
  • 13. 13 Tuna fisheries and bycatch There is little fishing within the United States Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIAs), made up of Wake, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll, with the exception of seasonal, but minimal, fishing by US commercial longline and purse seine tuna vessels. The tuna caught within these areas represents between 1 and 3 percent of the US tuna catch in the western and central Pacific. The US operates one of the world’s largest purse seine fleets in the Pacific Ocean, catching more than 230,000 metric tons of tuna from the western and central Pacific every year valued at more than $500 million53 . The US has 40 large scale purse seine vessels, which primarily fish in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Pacific Island countries, including Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, and the Marshall Islands. Occasionally, US purse seiners set their nets in one of the EEZs of the US PRIAs, but no other fleets are permitted to fish in these areas. Tuna purse seine catch in PRIA EEZs averaged 1,047 metric tons annually from 2008-201154 , worth an average of $1.4 million per year.55 This represents less than 1 percent of the total US purse seine tuna catch in the western and central Pacific Ocean. US longline vessels also fish in the EEZs of Palmyra and Johnston Atoll, with effort averaging 3 percent of western Pacific longline activity from 2008-2011.56 All longline vessels with Hawaii or American Samoa limited entry longline permits are allowed to fish in the PRIA.57 In 2012, Hawaii’s longline fleet landed $95 million worth of fish, 58 $4.9 million of which was caught in the PRIA.59 Seventy-seven longline vessels fished in the PRIA (out of 129), making 130 trips (9% of all longline trips), 766 sets (4% of all longline sets), and 1.9 million hooks (4% of total hooks by the fleet).60 Of note, should these areas be closed to fishing, because the U.S. 53 Value of Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fisheries. Forum Fisheries Agency 2013. 54 Ibid 55 Ibid 56 Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region 2011 Annual Report. Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management content/uploads/Large%20PDFs/2011%20Pelagics%20Annual%20Report_Final.pdf 57 Western Pacific General Longline Fishing. NOAA Fisheries Service. 58 Table 9: Hawaii commercial pelagic landings, revenue, and average price by species for the Hawaii-based deep- set and shallow-set longline fisheries, 2011-2012.Page 83. content/uploads/2013/03/BD46_Territory_Limits_FEP_Amd_7___FINAL_transmitted_draft_2013-23-12.pdf 59 Calculated using Table 10: Hawaii commercial pelagic landings, revernue, and average price per pound by fishery, 2011-2012. Page 83. content/uploads/2013/03/BD46_Territory_Limits_FEP_Amd_7___FINAL_transmitted_draft_2013-23-12.pdf, and the Hawaii-based Longline Logbook Summary Report 2012. 004.pdf 60 The Hawaii-Based Longline Logbook Summary Report 2012. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. 99% 1% United States Pacific Tuna Purse Seine Catch 233,331 Metric Ton Average Catch US purse seine tuna catch outside PRIA US purse seine catch in PRIA
  • 14. 14 can fish on the high seas and in the Hawaii EEZ, their overall catch levels would not be impacted. Both purse seine and longline fisheries in the PRIAs have significant bycatch concerns. By number, shark bycatch made up 11 percent of total catches from the longline fishery in the PRIA in 2012, including catches of threatened silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.61 Billfish caught as bycatch in the longline fishery, including the overfished striped marlin, made up 4.7 percent of the longline catch in the PRIA.62 Purse seiners catch threatened shark species as well as high volumes of juvenile bigeye tuna which are experiencing overfishing throughout the region. The EEZs of the PRIAs contain higher concentrations of juvenile bigeye than any other area in the western and central Pacific Ocean.63 During El Nino events, there is increased fishing in the Pacific Remote Islands Areas because tuna populations in the western Pacific migrate east. The last strong El Nino event occurred in 1997-1998, during which time the U.S. purse seine vessel catch in PRIAs significantly increased.64 Between 2008- 2011, however, the annual value of the U.S. purse seine fleet catch in the Pacific Remote Islands area ranged from $655,000 to 3.0 million65 . Of note is that should these areas be closed to fishing, because of the U.S. Tuna Treaty, these vessels can continue to fish in the entire area outside of the Remote Pacific Island waters without diminishing the total amount of fish that they could catch. 61 62 ibid 63 64 65 Value of Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fisheries. Forum Fisheries Agency 2013.
  • 15. 15 Bottom fisheries may also operate in the PRIA. According to the WPFMC FEP, “while there are currently no known bottom fish (e.g., snapper, groupers, jacks) fisheries operating in the PRIA, several vessels have been known to occasionally fish for bottom fish in federal waters around PRIA.”66 Bottom fisheries 66, p. 82
  • 16. 16 using trawls or bottom gillnets have been internationally recognized as highly destructive, particularly to vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems around seamounts. Economic and scientific rationale Large marine protected areas (LMPAs) are more cost-effective than smaller areas. When maintenance costs of 83 marine protected areas (MPAs) were examined, it was found that annual maintenance costs were “significantly more prohibitive when MPAs were smaller, located in coastal areas and located in developed countries.”67 Another study examining Australia’s Coral Sea found that managing the LMPA as a 100 percent no-take area was between 1.3 and 2 times more cost-effective than managing it as a multiple-use area with only 30 percent designated as a no-take area.68 Marine reserves may also increase resilience of nearby fisheries and serve to provide insurance for uncertainty in the environment, markets, or fisheries management strategies.69 A recent article published in Nature concluded that MPA effectiveness was strongly associated with five key variables: 1) fishing intensity, 2) enforcement, 3) age, 4) size, and 5) isolation70 The expansion of these monuments would have a good chance of being effective: the areas would be no- take; the US has the capacity to monitor and enforce the areas; if expanded all atoll sites will be greater than 300,000 square kilometers; and the atolls are isolated. Other studies on MPAs have found: • Large MPAs have the potential to protect highly mobile species, such as sharks and tuna71 • Larger MPAs can enhance fish biomass by reducing MPA edge, which in turn improves reseeding72 • Large MPAs can serve as reference sites for documenting changes from global threats, such as climate change and ocean acidification73 67 Balmford, A., P. Gravestock, N. Hockley, C. J. McClean, and C. M. Roberts. 2004. The worldwide costs of marine protected areas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101:9694–9697. 68 Ban, N. C., V. Adams, R. L. Pressey, and J. Hicks. 2011. Promise and problems for estimating management costs of marine protected areas. Conservation Letters 4:241–252. 69 Grafton RQ, Kompas T (2005) Uncertainty and the active adaptive management of marine reserves. Mar Policy 29: 471–479. 70 Edgar, G. et al. Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features. Nature 506, 216–220 (2014). 71 Koldewey, H. J., D. Curnick, S. Harding, L. R. Harrison, and M. Gollock. 2010. Potential benefits to fisheries and biodiversity of the Chagos Archipelago/British Indian Ocean Territory as a no-take marine reserve. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60:1906–15. 72 Walters, C. 2000. Impacts of Dispersal, Ecological Interactions, and Fishing Effort Dynamics on Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas: How large should protected areas be? Bulletin of Marine Science 66:745–757. 73 Selkoe, K. A., B. S. Halpern, C. M. Ebert, E. C. Franklin, E. R. Selig, K. S. Casey, J. Bruno, and R. J. Toonen. 2009. A map of human impacts to a “pristine” coral reef ecosystem, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Coral Reefs 28:635–650.