World’s Largest Marine Reserve will Protect Nearly a Half Million Square Miles of a Critical Marine Ecosystem that Supports Species and People
Arlington, Va. (September 26, 2014)—Conservation International (CI) applauds the expansion measure of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) in the Pacific Ocean taken by the Obama administration, which is a clear recognition the United States has of the direct connection between ocean health and global food security issues.
CI was active in the efforts leading up to this major conservation achievement. CI supports an expanded PRIMNM representing an important strategic addition to a growing collection of marine protected areas throughout the Pacific. The expansion of the monument would help to protect biologically-rich seamounts, as well as many species of birds, sea turtles, marine mammals and manta rays, including numerous endangered and threatened species.
“In addition to the marine diversity found in this region, this is a part of the ocean that is home to some of the largest tuna stocks in the world,” said Conservation International’s Chief Scientist Dr. Greg Stone. “Expanding the area of the monument will help fish stocks recover to a more healthy level, which is vital in order to meet the food needs for the growing world population.”
The PRIMNM is one of the most intact, ecologically sound marine environments in the world, surrounding the islands and atolls in the south-central Pacific Ocean. The national monument shares a maritime boarder with the Republic of Kiribati, a nation adjacent to another marine protected area— the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). Kiribati announced in June its commitment to close the PIPA to commercial fishing starting January 1, 2015. This action was not only inspiring, but it was also a call for further global action. The U.S. answered with the PRIMNM expansion, as did the Waitt Foundation and Oceans 5 as they pledged US$5M to support the PIPA.
Conservation International is instrumental in the Pacific to safeguard some of the most critical marine areas, through projects like the PIPA and the Pacific Oceanscape. Private support for conservation efforts like the PIPA, which are led by developing nations, is necessary for their long-term success.
Pacific Islands; Pacific Ocean
Oceanscape; Protected areas