Did Restricting Fishers’ Lines Hurt Their Bottom Line?

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Stretching across the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument protects more than 7,000 species—a quarter of them found nowhere else on the planet—in an area of island-dotted ocean spanning more than a million square kilometers. Refuge for this life came in 2006, when US President George W. Bush established the marine protected area (MPA). A decade later, President Barack Obama quadrupled the monument’s size to make it, at the time, the largest protected area in the world.
The expansion was praised by environmentalists and by Native Hawaiians, for whom Papahānaumokuākea holds significant cultural value. But it also drew sharp criticism from the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, the US Congress-appointed body that manages fisheries in the region—including the economically important longline fishery, which primarily targets bigeye tuna. In April 2016, the council argued in an open…

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