CNMI says Marianas Trench monument not working

3:17 pm on 12 July 2017

The Governor of the Northern Marianas says the US government has failed to live up to promises made during the creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

Pacific Ocean

Photo: Public Domain

Ralph Torres has written a letter to the US Interior Secretary saying a proposed co-management plan of the marine reserve had not been established.

As well as no plan, Mr Torres said there had been no increase in patrols to discourage illegal fishing, nor has a visitor centre been built which was supposed to help make up for the loss of access to natural resources.

The governor said while the commonwealth generally supports environmental goals and protections it is now time that the monument is reassessed.

Mr Torres is concerned at lost economic opportunities and restrictions on traditional fishing practices.

The CNMI Senate is even stronger in its stance and wants the designation scrapped.

In a resolution it said that national marine sanctuaries are "neither needed nor wanted" in the CNMI.

The National Monument was established in 2009 and prohibits fishing and mining in the area.

All US National Monuments are currently being reviewed after an executive order by President Trump.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs