Guam – President Obama has announced his intention to vastly expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine Monument, making a huge area of the south-central Pacific off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities.
The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument currently covers 87,000 square miles from Wake Atoll in the northwest to Jarvis Island in the southeast. The President’s proposal would expand the Marine Monument to nearly 782,000 square miles.
The President made the announcement in a video message to the “Our Ocean” conference in Washington D.C. The conference is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
According to the announcement on the White House website, “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.”
The proposal is slated to go into effect later this year after a comment period. It would create the world’s largest marine sanctuary, and double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.
The President also directed Federal agencies “to develop a comprehensive program aimed at deterring illegal fishing, addressing seafood fraud, and preventing illegally caught fish from entering the marketplace by increasing traceability and transparency.”