The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has withdrawn its proposal to expand the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Humpback whale.

Humpback whale. Image by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith / CC BY 2.0

The initial proposal sought to expand the sanctuary to protect the whole ecosystem, rather than just the whale species, and it would’ve added 235 square miles of the waters around Kauai, Niihau and Oahu to the sanctuary. John Armor, Acting Director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said on Tuesday that he would withdraw the proposal after listening to the state and its residents. Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources opposed the expansion of federal jurisdiction over the state’s oceans, arguing instead that the sanctuary works better as a complement to existing state functions.

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