About the 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.

All activities, regardless of location within PMNM, 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.

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.

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 exempt 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.)

The following activities are regulated through the Monument's permitting process:

  • 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 special ocean use;
  • Allow recreational activities within the Midway Atoll Special Management Area.

Permit Application Deadlines

February 1
For activities occurring between June 1 and August 31

May 1
For activities occurring between September 1 and December 31

September 1
For activities occurring between January 1 and May 31

Permit applications received after the deadline dates are not guaranteed to be processed in time for the associated activity period.

Due to the planned Midway Seabird Protection Project, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge will be temporarily closed to all non-essential personnel. For more information on Midway Atoll please contact USFWS Permit Coordinator Amanda Boyd at amanda_j_boyd@fws.gov

Quick Links