The Declaration for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument mandated a management plan be developed and published in 2011. Marine protected areas have been shown to only provide biological and social benefits when they are implemented and funded, and this cannot happen without a management plan.
(2011 to present)
The Friends of the Mariana Trench remain vigilant in monitoring the federal government’s progress on getting a management plan published for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM). The Friends endeavor to work diligently to keep the CNMI community informed of information as it becomes available.
The long-awaited draft management plan was finally published in the federal register in late February 2021, after COVID-19 caused further delays preventing action in late 2020; and 10 years after its original due date. Initially, the public commenting period would close on May 25, 2021, but on May 24, 2021 notice was published in the federal register extending the comment period to July 26, 2021.
The MTMNM management plan, according to the original monument designation, was due within the first two years of the monument’s formation. In May of 2011, four months after the final deadline for completion of MTMNM’s management plan, USFWS published their first update regarding the plan.
They released a second planning update in February of 2012, and a third in March of 2013. In 2014, USFWS published their fourth planning update, which included a schedule for a Visitors Center Working Group public listening session, published fishing regulations, and draft goals. After a series of communications challenges in the years in between 2014-2017, USFWS finally delivered a draft management plan to Governor Torres in January of 2020.
Partners: Office of the Governor, Department of Interior’s US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Department of Commerce’s NOAA Fisheries program.