Obama Plans to Create World's Largest Marine Protected Area
The proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where the White House intends to extend an existing protected area, known as the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, where fishing and drilling would be banned over an area of about 2-million sq. km.
The Pacific Remote Islands Area is controlled by the US and consists of seven scattered islands, atolls and reefs that lie between Hawaii and American Samoa. In the main uninhabited, the waters that surround these remote islands are home to a wide range of species including corals, seabirds, sharks and vegetation not found anywhere else in the world.
A statement from the White House reads in part:
"The President announced a commitment to use his authority to protect some of our most precious marine landscape just like he has for our mountains and rivers and forests.
To meet the President’s commitment, the Administration will immediately consider how we might expand protections near the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the south-central Pacific Ocean, an area which contains some of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world. These tropical coral reefs and associated marine ecosystems are also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.
Before making decisions about the geographic scope and details of future marine protections, we will consider the input of fishermen, scientists, conservation experts, elected officials, and other stakeholders. The President is also calling on other world leaders to join him in this effort to ensure that the world’s most valuable ocean ecosystems remain productive and pristine for our children and grandchildren."
For more information on the President’s National Ocean Policy, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans
Pictured: President Obama with First Lady approach the White House