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United States, Obama creates the world’s largest marine sanctuary

President Obama will quadruple the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, off the coast of Hawaii, which is home to one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet.

Off the coasts of Hawaii, the President of the United States has quadrupled the area of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a protected marine reserve established by George W. Bush earlier in 2006. This is part of the legacy Obama wants to hand on his successor.

hawaii marine sanctuary
Butterfly fish (Chaetodon lunula), Cathedrals of Lanai, Maui, Hawaii, USA (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The existing marine reserve will be expanded from 357,000 to 1.5 million square kilometres. This decision will provide the conservation and protection of over 7,000 marine species, including blue whales, sea turtles and rare black corals.

A marine sanctuary against climate change

“As ocean acidification, warming, and other impacts of climate change threaten marine ecosystems, expanding the monument will improve ocean resilience, help the region’s distinct physical and biological resources adapt, and create a natural laboratory that will allow scientists to monitor and explore the impacts of climate change on these fragile ecosystems,” reads a fact sheet released by the White House on the 26th of August.

area marina
Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)

No commercial fishing and mining

Obama’s choice has given voice to the native communities of Hawaii and to their call for safeguarding and protecting their lands. “The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet and a sacred place for the Native Hawaiian community,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “President Obama’s expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will permanently protect pristine coral reefs, deep sea marine habitats and important cultural and historic resources for the benefit of current and future generations.”

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