I would like to correct one erroneous statement in the article by Ms. Kimberly Bautista titled, “Our sanctuaries are being raped” that was published on June 20, 2018. The article states that “The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries was mandated and promised to conduct educational and research programs, as well as resource protection, but they allegedly have not.”

This is severely inaccurate. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries manages a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries does not oversee or is in any way involved with the management of the CNMI Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

It is indeed unfortunate that many discussions of what a national marine monument could bring to the people of CNMI have not come to fruition. The decision not to have the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries as a co-manager was made when the CNMI Marine Monument was created in 2009.

We request that the Saipan Tribune publish a correction, to provide clarity and better serve your audience.

More information about the CNMI Mariana’s trench marine national monument can be found here:

To learn more about the Office of National Marine sanctuaries and the places we protect go to

Allen Tom
Regional director
Pacific Is. Region, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Kihei (Maui), Hawaii

Allen Tom

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