U.S. Pacific Waters Protected
|Photo by A. Palmer, NOAA, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center|
Thanks to the nearly 200 CORAL members who sent letters to President Bush supporting the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
President George W. Bush has made marine conservation history by designating three areas—totaling 195,274 square miles—as national marine monuments. The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, which includes the Mariana Trench and the waters and corals surrounding three uninhabited islands in the Northern Mariana Islands, joins Rose Atoll National Monument in American Samoa, and Pacific Remote National Monument, comprising seven islands strung along the equator in the central Pacific Ocean.
|Photo by R. Schroeder, NOAA, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center|
Protected as national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, these ecologically valuable regions will now be afforded the same status as statues and cultural sites. While the law allows the government to immediately phase out commercial fishing and other extractive uses, recreational fishing, tourism, and scientific research with a federal permit will be still allowed inside the protected areas.
Together with Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which was established in 2006 in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, President Bush will have designated monuments protecting 335,561 square miles of ocean, a larger area of the world's marine environment than protected by any other person in history.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a highly unique area adjacent to the deepest undersea canyon on the globe with an enormous variety of unusual habitats. Along with Guam, it is the only U.S. possession in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The benefits of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument are many:
- Global recognition of a phenomenal underwater environment alongside the Mariana Trench—the deepest place on the globe and one of the natural wonders of the world.
- An unparalleled opportunity to protect a diversity of oceanic habitats including tropical coral reefs, seamounts, and deep canyons.
- Protection of a unique global scientific laboratory to study acidification and impacts of carbon dioxide on the ocean.
- Preservation of the diverse, healthy, and largely unexploited—and thus scientifically valuable—fish populations in this area.
To learn more about the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument project, log on to Pew Environment Group.
To read the official White House proclamation, log on to the White House Proclamation Archives.