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Memorandum on Potential Marine Conservation Management Areas

August 25, 2008

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality

Subject: Potential Marine Conservation Management Areas

The Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality has advised me there are objects of historic and scientific interest in areas under the jurisdiction of the United States that may be appropriate for recognition, protection, or improved conservation and management under available authorities including by executive order or action under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq.), National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. 1431, et seq.), or the Antiquities Act (16 U.S.C. 431). These objects include:

In the central Pacific, coral reefs, pinnacles, sea mounts, islands and surrounding waters of Johnston Atoll, Howland, Baker and Jarvis Islands, Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Wake Island, and Rose Atoll that are isolated from population centers, mostly uninhabited, and support endemic, depleted, migratory, endangered and threatened species of fish, giant clams, crabs, marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, migratory shorebirds and corals that are rapidly vanishing elsewhere in the world. The reefs in these areas support unique localized upwelling-based productivity, and two of the atolls are repositories of the larvae of many marine species transported from the biodiversity-rich western Pacific.

In the western Pacific Ocean, the marine waters around the northern islands of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, including the Mariana Trench, that offer an exceptional and diverse collection of marine life and habitat.

Please provide to me your assessment, with relevant supporting information, including the views of the territorial and local governments and other interested parties, of the advisability of providing additional recognition, protection or improved conservation and management for objects of historic or scientific interest at these islands, coral reefs, geologic features and surrounding marine waters.

Because Johnston Atoll and Wake Island have supported active military bases, and the other areas in the Pacific include areas of strategic importance to the United States, any measures your assessment recommends should not limit the Department of Defense from carrying out the mission of the various branches of the military stationed or operating within the Pacific and shall be consistent with freedom of navigation and international law. Please also consider cultural, environmental, economic, and multiple use implications of any measures you recommend, including the extent to which they are compatible, if applicable, with sustaining access to: (1) recreational and commercial fishing; (2) energy and mineral resources; and (3) opportunities for scientific study.

With respect to each of these areas, your assessment should further identify whether there are opportunities and mechanisms for improved coordination of management among relevant agencies in accordance with Executive Order 13366 of December 17, 2004.


George W. Bush, Memorandum on Potential Marine Conservation Management Areas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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