Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Obama to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve in Hawaii

Popular

Citing the danger that climate change poses to the oceans, President Obama will establish the largest marine reserve in the world today, protecting nearly 600,000 square miles off the coast of Hawaii.

Commercial fishing, mining and extraction are prohibited in the expanded Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, though subsistence fishing and scientific research will be allowed.

"The oceans are the untold story when it comes to climate change and we have to feel a sense of urgency when it comes to protecting the ocean that sustains us," said Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii. George W. Bush originally established the reserve a decade ago, protecting 140,000 square miles.

Reef Fish at Rapture Reef

Green Sea Turtles

Hawaiian Monk Seals

Albatrosses

Laysan Duck

Sperm Whales

Oceanic White-Tip Shark

Big Eye Tuna


"President Obama's expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National makes it the largest sanctuary for ocean life in the world," Greenpeace oceans campaign director John Hocevar said.

"This is a bold decision that will have lasting benefits for Hawaii's unique ecosystem. Networks of sanctuaries have proven to be powerful tools to ensure the health of our oceans. Setting aside areas closed to fishing, drilling and other extractive uses is the best way to protect biodiversity, rebuild depleted fish populations, and increase the resilience of marine ecosystems so they can better withstand the impacts of climate change.

"Bolder steps are still needed. Less than two percent of the world's oceans are protected from fishing, and many scientists suggest a target of 40 percent. It is vital that we take steps like President Obama did in Hawaii to prevent future expansion of industrial fisheries, but we also need to look at areas closer to our population centers. Most of the world's coastal fisheries have been severely depleted. With few limitations on fishing in these areas, recovery is slow. Our coasts are dotted with former fishing communities that are no longer able to find enough fish to sustain their livelihoods.

"Setting aside 40 percent of our marine ecosystems—in remote areas as well as those closer to home—will help preserve the health of our oceans and our communities."

For a deeper dive:

News: Washington Post, New York Times, Buzzfeed, Reuters, AP, IB Times, USA Today, National Geographic, The Hill, Discover

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Heavy industry on the lower Mississippi helps to create dead zones. AJ Wallace on Unsplash.

Cutting out coal-burning and other sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy industry, electricity production and traffic will reduce the size of the world's dead zones along coasts where all fish life is vanishing because of a lack of oxygen.

Read More Show Less

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has restricted the ability to gather in peaceful assembly, a Canadian company has moved forward with construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A gas flare from the Shell Chemical LP petroleum refinery illuminates the sky on August 21, 2019 in Norco, Louisiana. Drew Angerer / Getty Images.

Methane levels in the atmosphere experienced a dramatic rise in 2019, preliminary data released Sunday shows.

Read More Show Less
A retired West Virginia miner suffering from black lung visits a doctor for tests. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

In some states like West Virginia, coal mines have been classified as essential services and are staying open during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the close quarters miners work in and the known risks to respiratory health put miners in harm's way during the spread of the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Solar panel installations and a wind turbine at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam's Binh Thuan province on April 23, 2019. MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP via Getty Images

Renewable energy made up almost three quarters of all new energy capacity added in 2019, data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows.

Read More Show Less