Papahānaumokuākea Marine Monument

2006, 2016 CEHawaii

"Barack Obama has created the world’s largest marine protected area by expanding an existing ocean reserve off Hawaii to cover 582,578 square miles, providing what’s likely to be the grandest, and final, chapter in the president’s conservation legacy. The sweeping move quadruples the size of the Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument... which is now double the size of Texas, stretches outward from the north-western Hawaiian islands and includes Midway Atoll... the decision will provide “critical protections” for more than 7,000 marine species, a quarter of them found nowhere else on Earth. The area is inhabited by whales, sea turtles and yellowfin tuna and the bigeye tuna, which are commonly referred to in Hawaii as ‘ahi. Swaths of black coral, the world’s longest-living marine species at more than 4,500 years, will also be protected... The enlarged Papahānaumokuākea monument contains a number of treasures, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, around 14m seabirds and the Laysan duck, which is the world’s most endangered duck... The seabed around the islands is also thought to contain deposits of nickel, zinc and titanium, making the region of potential interest to mining. Conservationists have been pressing for greater ocean protections to aid a marine environment that is challenged by a global coral bleaching event, overfishing, seabed mining, a plague of plastic pollution and a lack of accountability on the high seas."

"Obama to create world's largest protected marine area off Hawaii" The Guardian. Oliver Milman. August 26, 2016.

Papahānaumokuākea provides refuge for endangered species such as this Hawaiian green sea turtle / honu (Chelonia mydas) at Pearl and Hermes Atoll. Photo by: John Burns/NOAA, 2017. public domain via flickr.