Understanding the Scale of Marine Protection in Hawai‘i: From Community-Based Management to the Remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Ancient Hawaiians developed a sophisticated natural resource management system that included various forms of spatial management. Today there exists in Hawai‘i a variety of spatial marine management strategies along a range of scales, with varying degrees of effectiveness. State-managed no-take areas make up less than 0.4% of nearshore waters, resulting in limited ecological and social benefits. There is increasing interest among communities and coastal stakeholders in integrating aspects of customary Hawaiian knowledge into contemporary co-management. A network of no-take reserves for aquarium fish on Hawai‘i Island is a stakeholder-driven, adaptive management strategy that has been successful in achieving ecological objectives and economic benefits. A network of large-scale no-take areas for deepwater (100–400 m) bottomfishes suffered from a lack of adequate data during their initiation; however, better technology, more ecological data, and stakeholder input have resulted in improvements and the ecological benefits are becoming clear. Finally, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) is currently the single largest conservation area in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. It is considered an unqualified success and is managed under a new model of collaborative governance. These case studies allow an examination of the effects of scale on spatial marine management in Hawai‘i and beyond that illustrate the advantages and shortcomings of different management strategies. Ultimately a marine spatial planning framework should be applied that incorporates existing marine managed areas to create a holistic, regional, multi-use zoning plan engaging stakeholders at all levels in order to maximize resilience of ecosystems and communities.