Conservation Groups Welcome U. S. Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Partnership
Honolulu, Hawai`i - September 4, 2012. Governor Abercrombie's announcement of the signing of the U.S. Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Partnership (PROP) agreement drew praise from a group of conservation organizations that had recently completed a workshop on the National Ocean Policy and the Hawai`i Ocean Resources Management Plan. Joining Governor Abercrombie in signing the Governors' Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership (PROP) agreement were the Governors of the Territory of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Territory of Guam. According to Hawai'i Office of Planning Director Jesse Souki, "The PROP creates a structure for developing regional priorities and a framework for collaboratively working with stakeholders such as local communities; county, state and federal agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the private sector." One of the major objectives of the PROP will be to facilitate implementation of the priority objectives of the National Ocean Policy.
"This is a very important step in implementing the National Ocean Policy in the Pacific," said Dave Raney, Chair of the Sierra Club's national Marine Action Team. "Although the U.S. Pacific Islands are widely separated geographically, they share cultural bonds and have a history of working together on challenges island peoples face. Adaptation to climate change impacts is perhaps the most daunting challenge today, and is a key National Ocean Policy objective. The PROP will promote sharing of knowledge and resources to address those impacts."
Marjorie Ziegler, Director of Conservation Council of Hawai`i, said "On August 18 we held our `Strengthening Marine Stewardship in Hawai`i' workshop, and learned that efforts to form the PROP were underway in American Samoa. We are pleased to learn those efforts were successful." Linda Paul, Director of the Hawai`i Audubon Society, said "This is welcome news. The PROP will help us take a regional approach to protect our fisheries and other marine resources." Stuart Coleman, Director of the Surfrider Foundation Chapters of Hawai`i said, "Marine debris, especially from plastics, is an important concern throughout the Pacific region. The PROP offers the opportunity to tackle marine debris as a regional issue."
Workshop participants developed a set of consensus recommendations regarding the updating of the Hawai`i Ocean Resources Management Plan, and submitted them to the Hawai`i Coastal Zone Management Program on August 31, 2012. The recommendations include revising the Ocean Resources Management Plan to align with the objectives of the National Ocean Policy.
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