It has surprised me that several notable Hawaiian leaders joined conservation advocates to help trigger the request to President Obama to expand the boundaries of the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. I assume it means that they endorse the conservation model that underpins the global initiative to place 30 percent of the world’s oceans into marine reserves.
That conservation model is inconsistent with the traditional Hawaiian concepts of managing natural resources.
If the proposed monument expansion being advocated becomes law, the area that would be off-limits to fishing would dramatically balloon to 580,000 square miles, an area more twice the size of Texas.
The Western concept of conservation as a natural resource management strategy, if observed as actually practiced, seems based on two fundamental principles. The first is to “preserve” the area in perpetuity, protecting it from being used at all if possible. The second is to severely restrict humans from accessing the area, except perhaps for those who wish to study it.