Sanctuary Advisory Council Introduction
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council provides a unique opportunity for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a community partnership with the people of Hawaiʻi. Through the establishment of this community-based advisory council, Hawaiʻi residents can provide input to sanctuary managers.
Voting members for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council include representatives from the Islands of Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, Maui, and Oʻahu as well as representatives on Native Hawaiian Culture, Research, Education, Fishing, Ocean Recreation, Conservation, Whale Watching, Commercial Shipping, Business/Commerce, Tourism, Citizen-At-Large, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. There is also a non-voting Youth Representative.
Non-voting State of Hawaiʻi representatives include the State Co-Manager, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Office of Planning, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (Energy Branch), and Department of Transportation (Harbors Division). Non-voting Federal include the Superintendent of the Sanctuary, the Superintendent of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Superintendent of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, and representatives from NOAA Fisheries, NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Navy, and the US Coast Guard.
Council members use their expertise and experience to provide advice, disseminate information about the sanctuary, and bring the concerns of constituents and the public to the attention of the sanctuary management. Such advice is invaluable to inform sanctuary management decisions and identifying priorities in education, outreach, research, long-term monitoring, and resource protection. Equally important, the council, as a community-based group, helps to strengthen the sanctuary's connection to communities across Hawaiʻi.
To increase its effectiveness the council has four standing subcommittees representing Native Hawaiian cultural issues, research, education, and conservation. Subcommittees are comprised of primary and alternate council members. As needed, working groups are formed to address specific issues. Working Groups can be comprised of both council members and non-council members such as cultural advisors, user group representatives, technical experts, and agency representatives. Any issues addressed by subcommittees or working groups must be brought before the full council at an open public meeting.
Council member terms for all non-government representatives run for two years. Elected officers, including a chair, vice chair and secretary, hold two-year terms of office. Full council meetings are typically held two to three times per year. Committees and working groups meet more often.
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries regards the involvement of communities and the development of a stewardship ethic as vitally important to successfully protect sanctuary resources. One key way to achieve this is through the involvement of advisory councils. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is committed to the full support, utilization, and enhancement of councils at all sanctuaries.