Former Reserve Advisory Council member profile

Brian Bowen

Brian Bowen
2005 – 2016

"Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument deserves dedicated protection because it encompasses one of the few nearly pristine places on earth. "
– Brian Bowen

Q: What drew you to participate in the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council?
A: I was conducting genetic connectivity studies across the Hawaiian Archipelago and saw firsthand the wonders of the NWHI.

Q: What do you see as the Reserve Advisory Council’s greatest achievement during the time you have been directly involved?
A: The greatest achievement of the RAC during my tenure was to increase awareness and support for the PMNM among citizens of all flavors.

Q: As a member of the council, what is one of your most memorable experiences?
A: Meeting and befriending Professor Izzy Abbott and Uncle Buzzy Agard. Dr. Abbott spoke so softly, yet her words had incredible resonance and wisdom. Uncle Buzzy Agard, as a retired fisherman, bore witness to how fragile were the ecosystems of the PMNM.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the council and/or monument today?
A: Promoting public awareness and buy-in, and converting the monument into a national marine sanctuary.

Q: Why should people care about protecting the monument?
A: 1) It is sacred to native Hawaiians, and 2) Scientists say that we need to protect 30% of the world’s oceans in order to maintain ecosystem function and vital services for coastal communities. The PMNM is a big step in the right direction.

Q: Other thoughts about being a member of the council?
A: It was a great experience. I learned about how to run a meeting from watching Tim Johns, who was positive, efficient, and often funny. I met many wonderful people.

Brian Bowen is a Research Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi.

Past and present council member profiles