NOAA reviewing responses to humpback sanctuary expansion

NOAA reviewing responses to humpback sanctuary expansion

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Federal officials are sifting through more than 3,000 written testimonies about a proposal to expand the boundaries of a sanctuary for humpback whales in Hawaii waters.

The Garden Island reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently closed its public comment period and will spend the coming months sorting and replying to the feedback.

NOAA hopes to expand the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to include 235 miles of new state and federal waters around Kauai, Niihau and Oahu.

The changes would bring the sanctuary area to 1,601 square miles and extend its focus from just whales to other marine species.

NOAA officials say the proposed changes are the result of requests from community members. But some locals have expressed concern that the expansion will lead to fishing restrictions.

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