Former Reserve Advisory Council member profile

Isaac “Paka” Harp

Isaac “Paka” Harp
2001 – 2003

"It was very rewarding discovering that so many people from all walks of life cared about the northwest islands, especially those who were initially unaware that the Hawaiian archipelago extended beyond Niʻihau. "
– Isaac “Paka” Harp

Q: What drew you to participate in the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council?
A: I drafted a management plan for the area in early 2000 that evolved into a community plan, which helped guide the political process towards the December 2000 Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve designation. Mahalo nui to Stephanie Fried, Cha Smith, Dave Raney, Victoria Holt-Takamine, the late Louis “Uncle Buzzy” Agard, Jr., my wife Tammy, and others in the broader community for supporting protection of this very unique and special area.

Q: What are your personal thoughts on the place and why it deserves such dedicated protection?
A: Our kupuna (elders) deserve our respect, Aloha, and protection against all threats. Those are our eldest kupuna floating there out in the northwestern Pacific deserving of our greatest respect, sincerest Aloha, and the greatest protection we can provide. The primary threat to the area prior to the Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve designation was the promotion of commercial fishing, which continues to pose a threat.

Q: As a member of the council, what is one of your most memorable experiences?
A: Seeing the happiness and fulfillment that it brought to the late great Uncle Louis “Buzzy” Agard, Jr. (RAC Native Hawaiian Kupuna Representative) who tried for decades to convince all to manage commercial fisheries in the area in a sustainable manner.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the council and/or monument today?
A: Commercial fishing interests, climate change, research overkill, grounding of large vessels transiting the area, and lack of enforcement.

Q: Why should people care about protecting the monument?
A: It’s the only potential source for replenishing certain marine resources in the main islands, an insurance policy for the future. It’s essential habitat to insure the survival of Hawaii’s endangered pinniped - the Hawaiian Monk Seal. It’s one of the few remaining predator dominated marine systems in the world providing a snapshot into the past of what the planet’s marine ecosystems may have been like.

Q: Anything else you would like to say about being a member of the council?
A: It was a pleasure to work with Robert Smith, ʻAulani Wilhelm, and RAC staff as well as the RAC members. Aloha oe to Aunty Izzy, Aunty Laura, and my dear friend Uncle Buzzy.

Past and present council member profiles