HONOLULU (AP) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering additional protections for parts of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

NOAA announced the proposal to designate oceanic areas of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which is already one of the largest protected natural areas in the world, as a national marine sanctuary on Friday.

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The agency opened the plan to public comment through January. The designation would build on existing protections meant to maintain marine habitats and wildlife.

The new rules would apply only to oceanic areas, not the islands that are already part of the monument. NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Hawaii and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs currently co-manage the monument.