Marine Monuments in the Pacific

I was very pleasantly surprised that the outgoing Bush administration created three marine monuments in the Pacific (Washington Post article, pictures, Economist article here).

From the Economist:

WHEN marine ecologist Enric Sala first set eyes on Kingman Reef, a remote spot in the Pacific, his heart started to beat like a drum. “I jumped into the water and I was surrounded by reef sharks and red snappers. The snappers started nibbling at my ponytail, they had never seen humans. It was like getting into a time machine and going back 500 years.” He adds, poignantly, “I knew the marine life would be more abundant, but I couldn’t imagine it would be so spectacular”.

Such lost worlds are vanishingly rare. But this week marine biologists received some glad tidings, which may help to preserve a few more such places. George Bush, using executive privilege, ordered the creation of three giant marine reserves in American waters in the Pacific. In total some 500,000 square kilometres, roughly equivalent to the size of Spain, will be better protected in the three zones. Reefs, islands, and the ocean around the Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll and Rose Atoll will be covered.

You can see this great presentation by Enric Sala at Poptech.

Personally I am really glad that this was done. Pardon the pun, it is a drop in the ocean compared to what we should be doing to preserve the oceans, but it is a start. Much, much more needs to be done to manage fish stocks, ecosystems, clean up pollution and enforce conservation areas.

I have written about this before here, and here.

The Economist recently published a very good survey about the state of the Oceans which makes for very sobering reading.

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