HONOLULU (AP) - The Office of Hawaiian Affairs now has an official voice in the management of the world's largest marine conservation area.
Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that OHA has been added as a co-trustee of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
President Barack Obama last year expanded the monument to encompass about 583,000 square miles of protected ocean.
OHA's support of the expansion was contingent on having a say in the monument's management, including advocating for Native Hawaiian access.
OHA Chief Executive Officer Kamanaopono Crabbe says the historic action places Native Hawaiians at the highest levels of decision making for a culturally and spiritually significant place.
Other co-trustees are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
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