New Hawaiian Monk Seal Critical Habitat Rule Supports State Role in Protecting Endangered Native Species

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is pleased that NOAA has incorporated state input into the new rules aimed at further protection for the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal by focusing protection on areas most important for foraging, pupping and resting.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently finalized the rule that identifies coastal areas in the Main Hawaiian Islands as critical habitat.  Critical habitat helps manage federal activities to avoid habitat destruction.  Most fishermen and ocean users will not be impacted by this designation.  Critical habitat is an important tool in the larger effort to recover this valued native species, found nowhere else in the world.

Activities that could be impacted include federally authorized, funded or carried out activities such as beach replenishment, coastal development and channel/harbor dredging.  Activities not likely to be impacted are non-Federal activities on public land or water such as beach and ocean recreation, along with shoreline and net fishing within state waters. This designation does not set up a refuge or preserve.