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With the Stoke of a Pen, an update

With the Stoke of a Pen, an update

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, December 5, 2017/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine mammals, sustainability, environment, Archive Pick of the Week

     Marine National Monuments Designated, 2014 (credit: NOAA & USFWS)

(updated post)

You wouldn't be criticized for missing a development buried among the myriad of other events happening but a major Presidential action just occurred. President Barack Obama, following the original ocean conservation initiative of President George Bush, expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument  west of Hawaii. With the stroke of his pen Mr. Obama use the  Antiquities Act , signed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, to significantly expanded the protected zone in the marine monument by increasing its original size.

Coral Reefs, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (credit: NOAA/FWS)

According to the White House, the marine reserve now encompasses nearly 500,000 square miles---increased from the original Bush designation of ~90,000 square miles---and will protect remote coral atolls and tropical islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Innumerable species of marine mammals, birds, sharks, coral reefs, and all associated wildlife are now protected from commercial fishing and deep sea mining. The expansion will allow undisturbed protection and reproduction for fish and other species to help repopulate adjacent marine areas where they have been depleted due to overfishing.

All presidents are very busy people but Mr. Obama's timely action to protect an ocean environment few have heard of or visited should be celebrated. Hopefully, the President will find other worthy examples for national monument protection. A Greater Canyonlands National Monument would be a great follow-on for a stroke of his pen.



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