Hawaii just got the biggest reserve in the world: Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

As the second term of Barak Obama’s tenure of President of the United States of America reaches its end, he has made sure that he will be remembered for his environmental work on his island of birth, Hawaii. Having grown up in the Pacific islands that make up Hawaii, Obama decided that the unique waters surrounding these islands which provide a home for the abundant diversity of animals was worth saving.



It is named the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and yes that is a long name. It has already been listed as a World Heritage U.S National Monument and it covers a whopping 1,510,000 km2 . The image above shows the areas that are covered by this newly inaugurated marine reserve. As you can see it makes up a little more than 60% of the islands.

With this territory, there are roughly 7,000 species living and a quarter of these only exist in Hawaii, hence the need for their protection. The standout names in these 7,000 are: the endangered hawksbill sea turtle, the threatened green sea turtle and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the Laysan and Nihoa finches, the Nihoa millerbird, Laysan duck, seabirds such as the Laysan albatross, numerous species of plants including Pritchardia palms, and many species of arthropods.


Image: green sea turtle (top left), hawksbill turtle (bottom left), laysan albatross (top right), Hawaiin monk seal (bottom right)

What does Hawaii’s Marine National Monument look like within TZ Coastal Monitoring?


Image: The highlighted zone in yellow provides an estimation of the Marine National Monument

Zooming out within TIMEZERO software we can create a specific zone to be monitored. What this does is provide an idea of where the zone is but more importantly, it provides a system in which any vessel entering or already inside can be tracked. The first thing you realize is that this zone isn’t actually affecting any of the main islands (pictured bottom right of image) which will maintain their rights to continue to fish around their vicinity.

An interesting fact is that this area: Papahanaumokuakea monument was actually created by President George W. Bush in 2006! It surrounds the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. So rather than being a new marine reserve, it is in fact an enlargement of the marine reserve that already existed. It now has expanded to cover up to the perimeter of the U.S. exclusive economic zone of these uninhabited Hawaiian Islands up until 1630 W.

Monitoring the Papahanaumokuakea monument

Adding and making this marine reserve the largest in the world is certainly an impressive feat but it is only half the battle. Monitoring the Papahanaumokuakea monument will be a monumental affair. They have a lot more acreage to cover. What will the Obama administration put in place to protect this area given that it was up until this moment a very rewarding fishing ground for the fisherman of Hawaii? Of course the possibility of fishing taking place in this zone is very real so this marine reserve is not only the largest but also the most strategically vulnerable in the world.

 Possible threats

  • Illegal fishing of 7,000 species that call the Papahanaumokuakea monument their home
  • Illegal anchoring can affect the natural balance of an ecosystem
  • Effectively managing the boundaries, especially when the area is so large
  • Effective monitoring of traffic in order not to waste time on boats that have permission to be there

Detection Vessels using Radar

It is safe to say that the American Coast Guard probably has some pretty powerful technology that would allow them to cover the whole distance of the marine reserve using radar technology. They could either install this infrastructure on the islands or have around the clock monitoring from vessels. If they didn’t have that reach, then there would be nothing stopping a fishing vessel to illegally enter the marine reserve.


AIS is a great tool to identify vessels. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and it is now pretty much illegal for most professional vessels not to have them enabled permanently. AIS will provide other vessels with information on their position, speed, heading and MMSI number. It does this using VHF signals mostly.

TZ Coastal Monitoring can monitor up to 1000 AIS targets at any given moment, being able to cover a large secured area.

Why TZ Coastal Monitoring could be a Good Fit

TZ Coastal Monitoring provides a platform that is based on TIMEZERO technology for boats to navigate. It is perfect for monitoring a zone because of the combination of the two technologies: Radar and AIS that are critical for a zone to be monitored effectively.


What is really important for protecting a National Monument such as Papahanaumokuakea is being able to see as far in advance as possible if a vessel will be entering the reserve. TZ Coastal Monitoring provides an easy way to create a perimeter that covers the whole area and creates an alarm when an unidentified vessel enters the area. On top of this it can then create a rule to automatically identify any vessels that have an AIS showing they are heading towards the area so that communication can take place before they arrive. This provides said vessel with a clear warning that they are approaching a no fishing zone and that they should change course.

You can find a full demo version of Coastal Monitoring in action in this video below:

Recording and Replaying Events

All the data inside TIMEZERO’s Coastal Monitoring can be recorded and replayed. Meaning that when an event does occur, it is easy to go back in time and find out how it happens. This way, you can put in place preventative measures so that you are more prepared for the next time.

Are you looking for a surveillance solution that can suit all types of markets and company sizes?

TZ Coastal Monitoring is already being used for a wide range of surveillance such as Oil rigs, Ports & harbors, Fish farms, Nuclear power plants, Marine protected areas and many more. It’s simple to use software based on the award winning TIMEZERO technology means that it is easy to set up and implement in a wide range of scenarios.

Find out more about TZ Coastal Monitoring here: