Since 2008, the Friends of the Mariana Trench have been working tirelessly to achieve a National Marine Sanctuary designation for the Mariana Trench; this would unlock new and exciting opportunities to preserve and protect our home.
(2016 – present)
When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designates a National Marine Sanctuary, that area becomes a place where people can continue to enjoy and use the ocean, but they must also obey certain laws that protect the marine ecosystem. Concerned about overfishing, Friends of the Mariana Trench volunteers approached representatives at NOAA Sanctuaries to discuss the possibility of designating the Mariana Trench as a marine sanctuary in 2008. When FOMT originally sent our Marine National Monument proposal to President Bush, this designation was part of the FOMT’s larger vision for our waters. Ultimately, FOMT’s efforts to push for the creation of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument were successful, but the National Marine Sanctuary designation was not included in the law
FOMT has continued working toward establishing the Mariana Trench as a National Marine Sanctuary since our establishment. In September of 2016, we worked with Governor Torres and Congressman Sablan to craft an application to the NOAA Sanctuaries process. The application was accepted and placed on NOAA Sanctuaries’ inventory list in December 2016. After almost a decade of discourse, NOAA Director John Armor informed us that the Mariana Trench would be added to NOAA’s working list of official National Marine Sanctuary nominations in 2017. Unfortunately, in part due to hesitancy (link to letter) on the part of the CNMI government, the Mariana Trench remains a nominee to this day.
You can read about the NOAA Sanctuaries Nomination Process and see the inventory list here. The CNMI wrote to [get from Ike and Angelo]. The current nomination expires at the end of 2021. Volunteers who would like to work on this project should contact Ike Cabrera.
Partners: Office of the Governor, Office of Congressman Sablan, NOAA Sanctuaries