Papahānaumokuākea's Permitting Program
Papahānaumokuākea's permitting program is designed to manage and minimize human impact, while increasing the conservation protection for Papahānaumokuākea's natural, cultural, and historic resources. In accordance with Presidential Proclamation 8031 and codifying regulations in 50 CFR Part 404, all activities in the Monument, with limited exceptions, require a permit.
Activities in the Monument are either prohibited (not allowed), exempted (no permit is needed), or regulated (must be considered through the Monument's joint-permitting process). For more information on the co-management structure of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, please click here.
The following activities are prohibited in Papahānaumokuākea:
- Exploring for, developing, or producing oil, gas, or minerals within the Monument;
- Using or attempting to use poisons, electrical charges, or explosives in the collection or harvest of a Monument resource;
- Introducing or otherwise releasing an introduced species from within or into the Monument; and
- Anchoring on or having a vessel anchored on any living or dead coral with an anchor, anchor chain, or anchor rope.
The following activities are exempted from Papahānaumokuākea's permitting program:
- Response to emergencies threatening life, property, or the environment;
- Law Enforcement activities;
- Activities and exercises of the Armed Forces (including the United States Coast Guard); and
- Passage without interruption. (For notification requirements when passing through the Monument, please click here.)
All activities, regardless of location within the PMNM, require a Monument permit. Activities proposed to occur in State of Hawaiʻi waters (0-3 nautical miles from all emergent lands, excluding Midway Atoll) must also be approved by the State of Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources. For more information on the State of Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources, please click here.
Per Proclamation 8031 and codifying Monument Regulations, permits may be issued in the Monument for activities that:
- Further the understanding of Monument resources and qualities through research;
- Further the educational value of the Monument;
- Assist in the conservation and management of the Monument;
- Allow Native Hawaiian practices;
- Allow a special ocean use;
- Allow recreational activities within the Midway Atoll Special Management Area.
The Monument permitting criteria is set forth in Proclamation 8031 and Monument Regulations at 50 CFR Part 404.11. Monument findings and review criteria must be met by all applicants ensuring that their proposed activities are consistent with Proclamation 8031 and the goals of the Monument (see Monument Management Plan). The Monument Management Board may require applicants to submit additional information, comply with special conditions, or undergo additional training.
To issue a permit, the applicant must provide information to demonstrate the following:
- The activity can be conducted with adequate safeguards for the resources and ecological integrity of the Monument;
- The activity will be conducted in a manner compatible with the purposes of the Proclamation, considering the extent to which the conduct of the activity may diminish or enhance Monument resources, qualities, and ecological integrity, any indirect, secondary or cumulative effects of the activity, and the duration of such effects;
- There is no practicable alternative to conducting the activity within the Monument;
- The end value of the activity outweighs its adverse impacts on Monument resources, qualities, and ecological integrity;
- The duration of the activity is no longer than necessary to achieve its stated purpose;
- The applicant is qualified to conduct and complete the activity and mitigate any potential impacts resulting from its conduct;
- The applicant has adequate financial resources available to conduct and complete the activity and mitigate any potential impacts resulting from its conduct;
- The methods and procedures proposed by the applicant are appropriate to achieve the proposed activity's goals in relation to their impacts to Monument resources, qualities, and ecological integrity;
- The applicant's vessel has been outfitted with a mobile transceiver unit approved by NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and complies with the requirements of 50 CFR Part 404.5; and
- There are no other factors that would make the issuance of a permit for the activity inappropriate.
Additional findings are required for Native Hawaiian Practices, Special Ocean Use, and Recreation permit applications. See Monument Regulations 50 CFR Part 404 for more information.
Researchers Emily Fielding, Brian Villiarimo and Ilysa Iglesias measure 'opihi habitat on the rocky shoreline within Papahānaumokuākea. Credit: Hoku Johnson
For permit applications, instructions and more information on the Monument permit application process, please click here.