[Coral-List] Fwd: Bush Designates 3 Areas of Pacific as Marine National Monuments

Mark Eakin Mark.Eakin at noaa.gov
Mon Jan 5 15:25:51 EST 2009

> Washingtonpost.com:
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/05/AR2009010501181.html?hpid=moreheadlines
> Bush Designates 3 Areas of Pacific as Marine National Monuments
> By Juliet Eilperin
> Washington Post Staff Writer
> Monday, January 5, 2009; 12:54 PM
> President Bush will create three new marine national monuments in  
> the Pacific Ocean Tuesday, according to White House spokeswoman Dana  
> Perino, designated areas that will span 195,280 square miles and  
> protect some of the most ecologically-rich areas of the world's  
> oceans.
> The decision to make the designations under the Antiquities Act,  
> coming just two weeks before Bush leaves office, means that he will  
> have protected more square miles of ocean than any person in  
> history. In 2006 Bush created the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National  
> Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, an area of 138,000  
> square miles.
> Two of the areas encompass a region known as the Line Islands, a  
> relatively isolated and uninhabited string of islands in the central  
> Pacific. The third area, in the western Pacific, includes the waters  
> around a few islands in the northern Marianas chain and the Mariana  
> Trench, the deepest ocean canyon in the world.
> Both regions boast enormous biodiversity: Kingman Reef and other  
> islands in the central Pacific area teem with sharks and other top  
> predators as well as vibrant, healthy corals; the Mariana Trench and  
> its nearby islands are home to several species of rare beaked whales  
> and the Micronesian megapode -- an endangered bird that uses the  
> heat from volcanic vents to incubate its eggs -- and also boast mud  
> volcanoes, pools of boiling sulfur and the greatest microbial  
> diversity on Earth.
> "The president's actions will prevent the destruction and extraction  
> of natural resources from these beautiful and biologically-diverse  
> areas without conflicting with our military's activities and freedom  
> of navigation, which are vital to our national security," Perino  
> said. "And the public and future generations with benefit from  
> science and knowledge. The President has a strong eight-year record  
> of ocean conservation, and these new designated protected areas will  
> comprise the largest area of ocean set aside as marine protected  
> areas in the world."
> While not all areas within the designated monuments will be fully  
> protected -- slightly less than 60 percent of the total will be  
> subject to prohibitions on fishing and other extractive activities  
> -- environmentalists praised Bush for the move.
> "With the designation of these new marine monuments in the Marianas  
> Islands, American Samoa and the western pacific, George Bush has  
> ushered in a new era of ocean conservation in the United States and  
> the world at large," said Josh Reichert, managing director of the  
> Pew Environment Group. "It has taken 137 years, since the creation  
> of America's first national park in Yellowstone in 1872, to  
> recognize that unique areas of the world's oceans deserve the same  
> kind of protection as we have afforded similar places on land. And  
> none too soon."

C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
Coordinator, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Center for Satellite Applications and Research
Satellite Oceanography & Climate Division
e-mail: mark.eakin at noaa.gov
url: coralreefwatch.noaa.gov

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