Reserve Advisory Council Members
The Council has 15 voting members and 12 non-voting members. The members include the following:
Linda Paul (Chair)Conservation Representative
2001 - Present
"Oceanic refuges that span large geographic distances are needed to protect marine communities from catastrophic events and to provide stable platforms for biological diversity to flourish. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands encompass the most remote large-scale coral reef system in the world. I'm glad to have been part of the effort that resulted in the protection of one of the last wild places on earth. Let's keep it that way. "
Linda Paul is a long-time advocate for the preservation and protection of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. She has coauthored videos, developed marketing materials, conducted numerous media interviews, and given countless presentations about the NWHI. She also initiated the application process supporting the nomination of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNSECO) World Heritage Site. For her tireless work, Linda was honored as the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award in 2006.
Paul's interest in ocean issues and passion for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands began when she was a graduate zoology student studying lobsters, focusing on the endemic Hawaiian spiny lobster. During this time she ventured on research vessels to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to collect adult and juvenile species.
In addition to being Vice-Chair of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council since 2003, Linda became the Executive Director for Aquatics for the Hawaiʻi Audubon Society after volunteering with that organization for years. Her memberships also include Project Director of Pacific Fisheries Coalition and Director of the Ocean Law & Policy Institute, Pacific Forum.
Linda has a Master's in Zoology from the University of Hawaiʻi and a Juris Doctor from UH's Richardson School of Law.
Rick Gaffney (Vice-Chair)Recreational Fishing Representative
2001 - Present
"The Northwest Hawaiian Islands are home to the most extraordinary marine ecosystem on the planet, and it is an honor and a privilege to be involved in the preservation and management of one of the most unsullied, unique and beautiful places on earth. "
Rick Gaffney has long been actively involved in the politics of fishery management and marine protected area. Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, Rick grew up boating, surfing, fishing, sailing and diving in island waters.
After graduating from Oregon State University and serving in the Navy, Rick earned his USCG Captain's license in Kona. He was one the first Sea Grant Marine Advisory Specialists in the Pacific, based on Maui, where he later operated a series of sport fishing charter boats. He first visited the Northwest Hawaiian Islands in 1996, and later helped to manage the sport fishing and diving operations on Midway. Rick is now President and Managing Broker for Pacific Boats & Yachts on the Big Island, and works as an ocean recreation development consultant.
In addition to his role on the NWHICRER Advisory Council, Rick is President of the Hawaiʻi Fishing and Boating Association, Central Pacific Islands Representative-at-Large for the International Game Fishing Association, a member of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Committee and he has served as Co-Chair of the West Hawaiʻi Fisheries Council, and a member of the federal Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.
Rick has written many articles on sport fishing, diving, boating and ocean recreational travel from all over the world, earning him international recognition as a chronicler of game fishing and boating, as well as two national writing awards and a marine environmental journalism fellowship.
Pelika AndradeNative Hawaiian Representative
2012 - Present
"My first trip in 2008 to Pihemanu.... Kuaihelani... Midway Atoll opened my eyes to the extent and expanse of our Hawaiian universe, but more importantly has awoken an awareness and responsibility that I have accepted and will pass on to my children and theirs. Our kupuna islands, our realm of po, contains countless treasures for us as kanaka and as citizens of our global community. It is in this realm that we are born from and return to. Our heroes have become famous for their travels there and that tradition continues to this day. The North Western Hawaiian Island are where our eldest of kupuna reside and continue to thrive... our corals and reef systems, fish, plants and birds. I feel both honored and privileged to be a contributing part of caring for our islands, our elder siblings, and ensuring a healthy-thriving pae'aina (archipelago) for future generations. "
A native Hawaiian born and raised on the island of Kauaʻi, Pelika Bertlemann says that caring for the islands and oceans has been a part of her family life from a very young age. She has been involved with many organizations and projects working to better our relationship with the environment through conservation efforts and lifestyle changes. For the past five years, she has been working to develop alternate approaches to monitor Hawaiʻi's shoreline and implement a management strategy that supports a healthy, balanced environment.
Pelika is currently Program Coordinator of the Keaholoa STEM Scholars Program at UH Hilo. She was previously Education Specialist for Hawaiʻi Community College's Digital Media Arts Program and Project Coordinator at Na Kalai Waʻa (Moku o Hawaiʻi), a non-profit organization that conducts community educational programs utilizing Hawaiian voyaging and non-instrument navigation as its foundation.
Pelika has a varied background in education, research, fishing, conservation, and business, and participates in many workshops and conferences related to conservation. She has lectured on topics ranging from voyaging, Hawaiian plants and their uses, to digital media arts. In addition to her role on the NWHICRER Advisory Council, her other memberships include OHA Native Hawaiian Working Group for PMNM, Nā Maka 'o Papahānaumokuākea, and Punana Leo o Waimea, and is a crewmember on the Makalii Voyaging Canoe based in Kawaihae, Hawaiʻi Island.
Pelika attended Kamehameha School and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Hawaiian Studies from UH Hilo and a Master's Degree in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She has visited the NWHI on two occasions to conduct scientific and cultural research, once to Midway in 2008 for 10 days and once to Nihoa, Moku Manamana, and French Frigate Shoals in 2010 for 10 days.
Richard LeeOcean-Related Tourism Representative
2012 - Present
"We should work to protect the Monument from adverse impacts that would diminish the land and marine ecosystems and work to restore these ecosystems to their natural state, and to create a perception of value in the community to support the Monument in perpetuity. "
Born and raised in Honolulu, Rick Lee is dedicated to educating people about the Hawaiian Islands and its marine ecosystems. Rick has over twenty years of professional experience with hospitality, eco-tourism, and recreation, both in the US and abroad. Currently an Advisor with Commercial Real Estate Services in Honolulu, he previously held positions with Marabou, Bank of Hawaii and Outrigger Canoe Club.
Rick has developed properties in isolated areas of the Pacific, New Zealand, Russia, Argentina, Chile, and the American West, and has worked with a number of scientific programs associated with resource management in these destinations. A US Coast Guard Credentialed Captain, he also owns an eco-tourism business in Honolulu that provides guided fly fishing with a focus on catch and release.
Rick attended Punahou School, The University of Utah, and Cornell University, where he earned a Master's Degree in Hotel Management with an emphasis in Eco-Tourism Development.
Don SchugResearch Representative
2001 - Present
Don Schug has spent more than twenty years studying the economic and social aspects of fisheries and fisheries management at the community, national, and international levels. His doctoral research in Papua New Guinea entailed an ethnographic study of artisanal fisheries in the Torres Strait, while his duties as an economic planner in American Samoa included monitoring changes in the highly industrialized U.S. tuna harvesting and processing sectors.
Don's fisheries-related research and applied work has taken him to many places in the United States and abroad. He has worked extensively in the Pacific islands, including Polynesia (Hawaiʻi and American Samoa), Micronesia (Kiribati) and Melanesia (Papua New Guinea).
Don believes that solutions to many of our natural resource management problems can only be achieved through the integration of information from a range of scientific disciplines, including economics, biology, sociology, and anthropology. As a result, he especially enjoys working with a team of people that can provide a wide range of perspectives and skills.
Solomon Pili KahoʻohalahalaNative Hawaiian Elder Representative
2017 - Present
E‘ō‘iwi Lāna‘i au. I am 7th generation native son from the Island of Lāna‘i. I have been nurtured in the ways of my Kūpuna and I continue to perpetuate their teachings in my daily life. I am privileged with the embrace and gifted with the tools of our Kūpuna, their knowledge, experiences, Na mea Hawai‘i and the deep respect they held for each other and for all things that make up Ka Pae ‘Āina Hawai‘i. My responsibility is to nurture and to care for their gifts and to bridge and pass it on to the future generations in the manner it was given to me. E ho‘omau!
Judith CuccoCitizen-at-Large Representative
2012 - Present
"I believe that we need to protect the full range and diversity of resources and habitats found throughout the Reserve by limiting consumptive activities, while continuing to allow activities that are compatible with resource protection and Native Hawaiian cultural practices. This will provide the opportunity for the Reserve to evolve in a natural state, with a minimum of human influence. "
Judith Cucco has had a lifelong interest in and love of the outdoors, the ocean and conservation. A retired teacher and marketing manager, Judith swims almost daily in Hanauma Bay (sometimes removing ghost nets and other marine debris), conducts fish surveys for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (more than 260 to date), volunteers for Reef Watch Waikiki, and takes hula classes (which include Hawaiian language and cultural components).
While living in Waikiki (2005 - 2010), Judith independently did beach clean ups after her daily swim. Her presentation for a biology class at Kapiolani Community College was entitled "Human Impact on Coral at the Inner Reef of Hanauma Bay."
Judith has participated in numerous marine resource training and volunteer activities, including the International Marine Debris Conference, NOAA's Ocean Awareness training, Eyes of the Reef training, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Count, and has served as an Interpretive Guide for the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology and a Conservation Education Intern for Dolphin Quest on Oʻahu.
Audrey NewmanConservation Representative
2020 - Present
Audrey Newman has more than 30 years of experience in Hawai’i and internationally developing effective conservation and sustainability programs, public-private partnerships and leadership networks. She works with leaders and teams to create and implement initiatives at the site, state, national, regional, and global scales. She is a founder of Hawai’i Green Growth (HGG), Pacific Invasives Learning Network and Micronesians in Island Conservation. Since 2016, she has enjoyed using her skills and experience to support and strengthen worthy projects led by partner organizations as an advisor, board of committee member, consultant, and friend.
Bonnie Kahapea-TannerEducation Representative
2012 - Present
"Over the years I have seen with my own eyes the changes in the environment, both land and sea. I believe that a balance between the traditional Hawaiian management systems and modern research and resource management must be met in order for Papahānaumokuākea to be protected and managed for the future. "
Born and raised in Kaneohe on the windward side of Oʻahu, Bonnie Kahapea-Tanner is an experienced voyager. Recognizing that the ocean is our home, she is in tune to the subtle changes in the environment.
Bonnie is currently Project Director and Captain for Mana Maoli, a non-profit that provides educational opportunities for all ages, and lectures on Polynesian Voyaging at Winward Community College. She has served for the past five years as the Recreational Boating Representative on the Kaneohe Bay Regional Council, is an active member of ʻOhana Waʻa, and crew of the voyaging canoe Makalii. In 1999, Bonnie served as a watch captain on the E Mau voyage to Micronesia, sailing over 4000 miles with grand master navigator Mau Piailug.
Bonnie participated in the 2002 NOWRAMP expedition to Papahānaumokuākea and participated in the March 2012 Native Hawaiian Research Plan focus group. As a voyager, she brings her expertise in observation, close relationship with the elements, and the history of our kupuna visiting these islands.
Mark Hixon, PhDResearch Representative
2021 - Present
"As a long-term guest of these amazing islands and peoples, I am honored to provide a western science perspective to the reserve advisory committee, knowing that mine is but one worldview among a constellation of cultural and life experiences. "
Mark is a professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, serving as the Sidney and Erika Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology. His expertise is marine ecology and conservation biology, especially regarding coral reefs, which he has studied in many locales around the world.
Mark completed his PhD at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he studied the ecology kelp forests. He was then a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Hawai‘i, where he began his studies of coral reefs in the late 1970s. From 1984 to 2012, Mark was a professor at Oregon State University, then was recruited back to UH as an endowed professor in 2013.
His research addresses the questions of how to enhance the resilience of corals to bleaching, what determines the number of fish in the sea, how so many different species naturally coexist on coral reefs, and how marine reserves and artificial reefs help to conserve sea life and enhance fisheries. In 2004, Mark was recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information Citation Index as the most cited scientific author on coral-reef ecology in the United States.
A Fulbright Senior Scholar, Aldo Leopold Fellow, and Fellow of the International Coral Reef Society, Mark serves on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals. He is past chair of both the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Ocean Sciences Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation.
Mark has won various awards for teaching, and his public outreach includes TED talks and appearances on the PBS TV show Saving the Oceans. He loves being near, on, and under the sea, especially with his family.
Kalamaʻehu TakahashiNative Hawaiian Representative
2022 - Present
Samuel Gon IIIConservation Representative
2022 - Present
Sam ʻOhukaniʻōhiʻa Gon III is the Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor for The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi & Palmyra – a dual title not seen yet anywhere else in the organization. Sam was conventionally trained as a conservation biologist, and also traditionally trained by a master of oli (Hawaiian chant) and ceremony, Kumu John Keolamakaʻāinana Lake, and underwent the ʻūniki huʻelepo (a traditional rite of passage) as a Hawaiian cultural practitioner of oli and ceremony. Sam is also a kumu [teacher/source] of oli in the hālau [traditional school of learning], Nā Waʻa Lālani Kāhuna o Puʻu Koholā – a responsibility passed to him by his late teacher.
Samʻs dual expertise is in Hawaiian terrestrial ecosystems and species, as well as biocultural conservation. Biocultural conservation strives to “mainstream” Hawaiian knowledge, values and practice into conventional conservation efforts, not only in Hawaiʻi, but globally. As a commissioner in the IUCN, his focus has been on creating and strengthening indigenous membership and participation in international conservation, an evolving and growing theme in the two most recent World Conservation Congresses in Hawaiʻi (2016) and Marseille (2020). Building such approaches in higher education in Hawaiʻi, Sam is affiliate graduate faculty in the University of Hawaiʻi School of Natural Resource and Environmental Management, as well as the School of Life Sciences, and an advising faculty in the universityʻs Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific.
Haunani Kane, PhDResearch Representative
2021 - Present
Haunani Hiʻilani Kane was raised at the foot of Olomana mountain in the coastal community of Kailua, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. Haunani received a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi and is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow. In the fall she will join Arizona State University as an Assistant Professor with the Global Center for Discovery and Conservation Science in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. Haunani's research combines coastal geomorphology, paleo environmental reconstructions, spatial analysis, and the perspectives of a native islander to investigate how islands, reefs, and island people are impacted by changes in climate.
Haunani has been mentored since her youth in traditional Hawaiian wayfinding and navigation. Haunani has spent nearly 200 days at sea aboard both traditional sailing and modern research vessels. As a Hawaiian voyager, and a climate scientist Haunani's research and teaching relies upon reestablishing ancestral relationships to place. She hopes that through this process she may provide a more inclusive understanding of the impacts of environmental stressors and ensure that the best available climate science data is reflective of all stories of place and their people.
Rick HooRecreational Fishing Alternate
2003 - Present
Nakoa GooNative Hawaiian Alternate
2017 - Present
Robert LeinauConservation Alternate
2018 - Present
"I've been an active ocean enthusiast on Oahu's North Shore for over fifty years. In that time I have traveled widely to other ocean wonderlands. I have witnessed significant shifts in the ocean's biota and in people's attitudes. Change is constant ... things are either getting better ... or not! Cultural sensitivity, education, and advocacy are the keys for an optimistic future. "
Bob derives significant pleasure in telling people that he is a "volunteer". As one who has high regard for our natural resources, Bob is actively involved in many conservation oriented organizations: Aha hui in Waimea Valley, CTAHR Master Gardener, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Group [past], Honolulu Board of Water Supply Stakeholder Advisory Group, Kōkua Foundation 'Aina in the Schools, Mālama Pūpūkea -Waimea, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, North Shore Community Land Trust, North Shore Neighborhood Board, and North Shore Outdoor Circle. Bob feels that it is an honor to think that his mana'o might, in some small way, help mālama the ocean that needs so much help at this time.
Thorne AbbottConservation Alternate
2020 - Present
Thorne Abbott is a professional coastal planner who specializes in shoreline issues. He has extensive experience in planning and permitting beach restoration, coastal erosion response, and oceanfront property development throughout Hawaii, Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Abbott helped amend Hawaii’s Coastal Zone Management Act, Maui County’s Special Management Area rules, Maui and Kauai County’s shoreline regulations, and co-authored Maui and Molokai’s community-based Post-Disaster Reconstruction Guidelines and Protocols. He is published in the Ocean and Coastal Management journal and contributed to Springer Books Managed Realignment. Thorne is a strong advocate of conservation policies and he has successfully implemented managed retreat to keep out resorts, homes and people of harm’s way. He Chaired the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, recently Co-chaired a legal seminar on sea level rise adaptation, served on Hawaii Audubon Society’s Board of Directors, and helped the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s Coral Recovery Team create a County-adopted framework to guide local actions to improve reef health, water quality and native fish populations. Thorne considers it a privilege to serve on the RAC and SAC and looks forward to contributing.
Heather HowardEducation Alternate
2020 - Present
Heather is a PADI Divemaster, USCG Boat Captain, Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, and Educator. She has over 25 years of experience in business and project management. Heather is a commercial diver and received her training by volunteering at the Oregon Coast Aquarium as a dive technician. She is a trained coral practitioner and teaches courses in Hawaii about all things coral-related. Born and raised on the west coast of Oregon her love and curiosity for the ocean started at a very young age. In 2007 she made her first trip to the Big Island of Hawaii where her passion to learn and teach about this special place became her full-time focus. She is the co-founder of the Coral Reef Education Institute, a Hawaii-based nonprofit working to reverse the effects of climate change through education, monitoring, and restoration programs.
Doug FetterlyConservation Alternate
2021 - Present
"The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve represents a beacon of hope to those in the world who care about protecting vital ecosystems. I feel fortunate to be part of the important, dedicated work this Council applies to those ends. "
Doug served six years as Chair for the Sierra Club’s National Marine Team (the Club’s ocean arm) where the pillars are fisheries management, marine & coastal ecosystem conservation, marine protected areas, and marine wildlife & habitat. He wrote thirteen grants allowing his team members each year to: lobby Congress in D.C. on ocean issues; hold town hall events in coastal cities around the U.S.; and take part in steering and promoting March For The Ocean at the Capitol Mall in D.C. Doug also helped conservationists in Guam, at their request, to halt a culvert project that would have directed toxic stormwater into Tumon Bay Marine Reserve. He did outreach in Alaska, speaking with Alaska Natives and environmental studies classes, to advance conversation and inquiries about ocean conservation.
Over ten years ago, Doug came to Hawaiʻi from Northern California where he sat on the Natural Resources Commission for the city of Davis.
On a personal note, Doug and his wife both enjoy surfing, often at Bowl’s. They have travelled widely, but Hawaiʻi is home. He used to race sailboats and rode in a cattle drive in California. Doug has authored a novel, short stories, and is currently working on a TV pilot.
Neal Langerman, PhDResearch Alternate
2021 - Present
Dr. Langerman is a chemist, earning a Ph.D. in biochemical thermodynamics at Northwestern University. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Following a NIH Post-Doctoral year at Yale, he joined the faculty of the Departments of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at Tufts University Medical School in 1970. In 1975, he went west and joined the Chemistry Department of Utah State University. At both Tufts and USU, he assumed responsibility for departmental safety programs. In 1979, Neal learned of RCRA, and this started him on his career as a consultant.
Neal established his first consulting company, Chemical Safety Associates, in 1980, in conjunction with other members of the USU faculty. He headed this firm until 1997, when he sold his interests in MSDS production and set up his current consulting firm, Advanced Chemical Safety from which he officially retired at the end of 2020. He now pursues areas of interest which broadly impact human well-being.
His professional interests continue to be the prevention of chemical incidents and injuries. For the past year he has studied how businesses can better cope with the pandemic and its many physical, emotional, and economic impacts. He served as the Chair of the Division of Chemical Health and Safety of the American Chemical Society in 2004 and in 2004 and 2013, received the Tillsman-Skolnick Award for contributions to the field of chemical health and safety through the ACS from the Division. In 2018 he was recognized for his Lifetime Contributions to Chemical Safety. He is currently an Alternate Councilor for the Division.
Dr. Langerman is an avid SCUBA diver and photographer. Please visit his professional photography site and his photography retail site to learn more about his love of the underwater world.
Bill Walsh, PhDResearch Alternate
2021 - Present
Dr. Bill Walsh was an aquatic biologist with the Hawai′i Division of Aquatic Resources, in Kona on the Big Island of Hawai′i from 1998 thru 2019. He received his Ph.D. in 1984 in Zoology from the University of Hawai′i at Mānoa with a research emphasis on the behavioral ecology of coral reef fishes with a particular focus on things that go bump in the dark (i.e. nocturnal fish behavior and sheltering). Additional research and management interests include traditional Hawaiian marine resource management practices, recruitment dynamics of reef fishes and the efficacy of marine protected areas. Over the years, Dr. Bill has participated in a number of research expeditions to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In 2008 and 2014 he was formally recognized as an Outstanding Natural Resource Manager by the United States Coral Reef Task Force.
In addition to 45 years of diving experience in the Hawaiian Islands, Dr. Bill is also a lifelong recreational fisherman and has been both a New England commercial lobsterman and trawl fisherman. He has been an independent business owner, former president of the Pacific Handcrafters Guild, two-term Natural Areas Reserves Commissioner, graphic artist and farmer. Dr. Bill retired from the Division of Aquatic Resources at the end of 2019.
Paul Badgley Jr.Ocean-Related Tourism Alternate
2021 - Present
Kammie Dominique-TavaresCitizen-At-Large Alternate
2022 - Present
Kammie Tavares was raised on the Waiʻanae coast where her love and respect for ʻāina grew. Her work focuses on understanding the changes happening in Hawaiʻi’s coastal communities and providing resources to support coastal management. With a BS in Global Environmental Science and an MS in Geology and Geophysics at UH Mānoa, she is well versed in natural sciences. She worked in the Coastal Geology Group for 6 years collaborating with various government agencies on producing coastal geospatial research of sea level rise and coastal erosion. Now, she is expanding her skillset in her next chapter as a PhD student at Mānoa in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to bridge the gap between science, policy and community initiatives.
Kammie participated in two research trips to Papahānaumokuākea which were focused on studying the geology of the atolls. Her first visit was to Lalo in 2018 right before Hurricane Walaka came through, and the second was in 2021 with an all Native Hawaiian crew who studied how Lalo recovered post-hurricane. This crew also went to Nihoa to study the intertidal zone.
Non-voting representatives from the following agencies
NOAA/Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
Marine Mammal Commission
National Science Foundation
U.S. Coast Guard
Department of Defense
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council
Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Refuges)
Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Ecological Services)
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA/National Ocean Service/Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
U.S. Department of State
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Brandon Jim On
NOAA/Office of Law Enforcement
State of Hawaiʻi - Division of Forestry and Wildlife
State of Hawaiʻi - Division of Aquatic Resources