«

»

Refuge Association Praises Expansion of Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

Black Tipped Reef Shark, one of the species protected by the monument expansion | Laura Taylor
Blacktip Reef Shark, one of the species protected by the monument expansion | Laura Taylor

In a huge victory for conservation, the Obama administration announced this morning the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument now covers approximately 490,000 square miles in the south-central Pacific Ocean and is home to some of the most pristine and biodiverse waters in the world. Three national wildlife refuges are included in this expansion, they are: Wake Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge. The expanded National Monument protects the waters surrounding the refuges 200 nautical miles from land of these three refuges.

Coral reefs and the many species that inhabit them are a vital resource that is now protected with the expansion of this monument | USFWS
Coral reefs and the many species that inhabit them are a vital resource that is now protected with the expansion of this monument | USFWS

The proclamation bans commercial fishing and other resource extraction activities, such as deep-sea mining. Sustainable recreational and traditional fishing will still be allowed.

The expanded Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is of global and regional ecological importance for large predatory fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles. An estimated 14 million seabirds representing 19 species use these areas as feeding and breeding grounds. Five species of protected sea turtles, including the critically endangered leatherback, and 22 species of protected marine mammals use these waters as migratory routes and feeding grounds. Also, remarkably rich coral ecosystems would be protected.

A young Hawaiin Monk Seal and a Green Sea Turtle are both species that will be protected because of the expanded monument | Mark Sullivan
A young Hawaiin Monk Seal and a Green Sea Turtle are both species that will be protected because of the expanded monument | Mark Sullivan

We strongly support the President in his decision to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and make conservation the primary purpose of the monument. While we are overjoyed that the monument has been expanded, we must not forget that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will need additional resources to manage this increase of jurisdiction. Other Pacific monuments created by the Bush Administration in 2006 and 2009 came with no additional resources for management.  And on top of the added management responsibilities, the Refuge System has been rewarded with a nearly 20% cut in funding since FY 2010. We hope that the President will request additional resources for the Refuge System in his FY 2016 budget request that acknowledges this area’s great importance – not just to Americans but to the world.

We must do our part to protect the ocean. The Obama Administration’s announcement to expand protection of U.S. waters in the Pacific Ocean is a major step in the right direction. Also, a large thank you to everyone who signed our letter through the Action Network in support of this expansion.

Click here to read our press release.

Click here for the press release from the Department of the Interior.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2014/09/refuge-association-praises-expansion-of-remote-pacific-islands-marine-national-monument/

3 comments

  1. Kathy Woodward says:

    Thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of us all.

  2. Colleen says:

    That’s great…

  3. Robyn says:

    Well at least he may have got one thing right,,, even though this is another smoke screen for the rest of his mistakes..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>