Hawaii residents have until 6 p.m. Friday to submit comments on a controversial proposal to expand areas under federal protection and strengthen rules aimed at protecting humpback whales and other marine life.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been soliciting feedback for the past three months on a draft environmental impact analysis of proposals to expand Hawaii’s existing humpback whale sanctuary and impose tougher rules in areas including Maunalua Bay in heavily populated south Oahu. Some residents worry the proposal opens the door to overregulation. It has inspired heated public meetings in Kauai and protests on Oahu.

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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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