Papahanaumokuakea as a Top Predator Dominated Ecosystem
The shallow marine component of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is nearly pristine, and has been described as a “top predator dominated ecosystem,” an increasingly rare phenomenon in the world’s oceans (Friedlander and DeMartini 2002). Recent research suggests that the global oceans have lost more than 90% of large predatory fishes (Meyers and Worm 2003). Large, predatory fish such as sharks, Giant Trevally, and groupers that are heavily depleted by fishing and therefore rarely seen in populated areas of the world are extremely abundant in the waters of Papahānaumokuākea. With no fishing pressure and physical isolation from human impacts, the average biomass of fish in Papahānaumokuākea is three times greater than in the main Hawaiian Islands. More than 54% of the total biomass consists of apex predators such as large jacks or trevally, sharks and other species.