Presidential Proclamation 8336, which established the monument, gave the Secretary of the Interior management responsibility for the monument, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary of Defense continues to manage Wake Island under a 1972 agreement with the Department of the Interior until the agreement is terminated. Similarly, the Department of Defense continues to manage the terrestrial portions of Johnston Atoll until jurisdiction is returned to the Department of the Interior. The Proclamation prohibits commercial fishing within the monument, but gives the Secretary of Commerce, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, primary responsibility for managing fishery-related activities from 12 to 50 nautical miles from the islands.
On January 16, 2009, the Secretary of the Interior delegated his management responsibilities for the monument to the Fish and Wildlife Service through Secretary’s Order 3284. Through this order, the Secretary extended the boundaries of Howland Island, Baker Island, Jarvis Island, and Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuges to 12 nautical miles from the mean low water line of each island. He also established a Wake Island Unit of the monument to be managed as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System out to 12 nautical miles from the mean low water line of the islands, with the Department of the Air Force continuing to manage the emergent lands as described above.