Attention Yachters: New Marine Reserve off the Coast of Hawaii
Did you know? There is a new protected marine environment off the coast of Hawaii. President Barack Obama has expanded the 140,000 sq. mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to over 580,000 sq. miles! The marine sanctuary lies northwest of the main islands of Hawaii and it is now the largest protected marine area on the planet.
The Riches of Papahanaumokuakea
Papahanaumokuakea is a very eco-rich environment of over 7,000 species as well as 10 islands and atolls. It is home to tropical sea birds, black coral (the longest-living marine species) and several endangered species. Interestingly, the marine reserve will protect a number of species that have yet to be identified such as a recent finding – a species of small white octopuses. John Reichert of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy calls it “one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet”. The marine reserve which has now been expanded to more than four times its original size, is also rich in history as the site of World War II’s Battle of Midway and as home to an area that is sacred to natives of Hawaii.
The Significance of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
The expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is not only significant to the U.S., but to the world. It’s a bold and powerful step to work against climate change, promote biodiversity and to set an example to promote the protection of marine environments and the environment at large! To add, the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Reserve to an area twice the size of Texas is an important step for conservation, research and education. With the newly expanded protections, this marine reserve will have the opportunity for tuna to flourish once again while offering a chance to see an increase in the populations of the endangered species that call the area home – green sea turtles, short-tailed albatrosses, blue whales and Hawaiian monk seals.
The new legislation permits scientific research as well as recreational fishing and fishing for sustenance by the area’s native Hawaiians. Commercial fishing and mineral extraction, however, are strictly forbidden.
The original 140,000 sq. mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was originally established one decade ago by President George W. Bush. President Obama’s expansion of the reserve is a part of his major legacy in environmental protection. He has currently protected over twice the number of acres of environment as any other president in history.
We don’t care how it is done, but we LOVE seeing new marine environments protected – raising awareness of our environmental impact on the oceans and the need to protect them!
09-05-2016 at 2:43