Mel Moon Named to National Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Board

LAPSUH (Jan. 16, 2002) — Mel Moon, Natural Resources Director for the Quileute Tribe, has been named to the National Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee. The 30-person panel’s duties will include providing advice and recommendations to the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior on implementation of aspects of the Marine Protected Areas executive order. The group is composed of a broad stakeholder community, including scientists, academia, commercial and recreational fishermen, resource users and managers, and environmentalists.

The committee was created by the Department of Commerce with assistance from the Department of Interior as part of a presidential executive order. Moon is one of only two representatives from the state of Washington. The committee works within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Moon said the appointment would dovetail well with his service on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC), also under NOAA. “I’m very honored to be selected to work with this impressive group of individuals. My focus will be the same as it has been with MAFAC, to make sure participants understand the trust doctrine, the obligation of the federal government to the tribes. That means making sure tribes are participating in these processes that affect treaty resources and making sure there is a funding mechanism that allows full tribal participation,” said Moon. Moon’s other focus has been finding ways to design regional planning processes to work with the assessment of marine resources and the use of marine protected areas (MPAs). Marine protected areas are any areas of the marine environment that have been reserved by federal, state, territorial, tribal or local governments to provide lasting protection for natural and cultural resources. Part of the job of the committee will be to inventory all existing MPAs.

“MPAs are a tool, not necessarily the ultimate answer to the many problems we’re seeing in our oceans. There are many things we don’t know about our oceans. It’s no good to establish a guilt-free, small marine protected area and then have huge areas outside of that MPA getting over-harvested and having no idea about the overall impacts,” said Moon. “That’s why regional-based planning is such a good way to go. We saw that with watershed analysis in the past. You get all the parties working in the same direction in partnerships instead of as adversaries and coming up with unique and positive solutions,” Moon said.

The members may establish working groups, subcommittees, or task forces as needed to fulfill the committee’s goals. They will also create a scientific working group of experts in marine and ocean science fields, which will assess the conditions of natural and submerged cultural resources within the nation’s MPAs. The members will serve for two or three-year terms and will elect a chairperson from the group.

The committee will be supported by the National Marine Protected Areas Center, established by NOAA in cooperation with the Department of the Interior, The MPA Center is charged with providing federal, state, territorial, tribal and local governments with the information, technologies, training, and strategies to coordinate federal activities related to MPAs. To see the others slated to serve on the committee, see the National Marine Protected Areas Center web site at Moon is also a commissioner for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC). The NWIFC assists member tribes in conducting orderly and biologically sound fisheries. It is also a central coordinating body that provides a forum for member tribes to jointly address natural resource management issues and enables tribes to speak with a unified voice on issues of mutual concern.

For more information, contact: Mel Moon, Natural Resources Director, Quileute Tribe (360) 374-5695, Karsten Boysten, Information and Education, Quileute Tribe, Debbie Preston, Coastal Information Officer, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

Mug Shot Available: Contact Debbie Preston at above number