Bottomfish and Lobster Fisheries Permanently Closed at Papahanaumokuakea Monument

Reported by: Ron Mizutani, KOHN2

Bottomfish and lobster fisheries scheduled to close in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument next June have permanently shut down more than a year in advance. But it came with a price tag, essentially a buyout of 22 permits to the tune of $6 million.

The creation of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in 2006 had a ripple affect on fisheries across the globe. The proclamation called for commercial bottomfishing to phase out by 2011.

“The proclamation when the monument was established allowed bottomfishing to continue to occur until June 15th 2011,” said Michael Tosatto, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Deputy Regional Administrator.

Eight active vessels were allowed to fish until then, while the lobster fishery was closed immediately. But in 2008, congress introduced a program to speed up the process, saving thousands of pounds of fish from being caught.

“I think the resource agencies looked at that continued extraction as if it could end sooner it would be beneficial to that ecosystem,” said Tosatto.

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