Management Plan

humpback adult with calf
Photo: J. Moore/NOAA, under NOAA permit #20311

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary management plan is a site-specific planning and management tool that describes the sanctuary's goals, objectives, and boundaries. It guides future activities, outlines staffing and budget needs, and sets priorities and performance measures for resource protection, research, and education programs.

In order to effectively manage Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, it is important to include cultural perspectives and place-based information and solutions that uniquely reflect each island and community. This approach embodies Hawaiian values that connect people to the environment, and these values ultimately inform and direct appropriate environmental management practices.

Sanctuary managers continue to redefine the management plan as required by Congress. Periodically, the sanctuary works with the state of Hawai‘i and other stakeholders to review and update the management plan as necessary. Working with the community, the co-managers ensure that the sanctuary's management plan is up to date and addresses current issues facing humpback whales in Hawaiian waters.

Current Management Plan

Archived 2002 Management Plan

National Marine Sanctuaries Act

The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to designate and protect areas of the marine environment with special national significance due to their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, scientific, cultural, archeological, educational, or aesthetic qualities as national marine sanctuaries.

Day-to-day management of national marine sanctuaries has been delegated by the Secretary of Commerce to NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. The primary objective of the NMSA is to protect marine resources, such as coral reefs, sunken historical vessels, or unique habitats.

State of Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources

The mission of the Division of Aquatic Resources is to work with the people of Hawai‘i to manage, conserve, and restore the state's unique aquatic resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.

Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was enacted on October 21, 1972. All marine mammals are protected under the MMPA. The MMPA prohibits, with certain exceptions, the "take" of marine mammals in U.S. waters and by U.S. citizens on the high seas, and the importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the United States.

Jurisdiction for MMPA is shared by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for issuing take permits when exceptions are made to the MMPA.