For Immediate Release
January 6, 2021
Lance Morgan, Lance.Morgan@marine-conservation.org, 707-217-8242 (cell)
Mike Gravitz, Michael.Gravitz@marine-conservation.org, 301-351-5052 (cell)
Sarah Hameed, Sarah.Hameed@marine-conservation.org 707-570-7843 (cell)
[Glen Ellen, CA] Today, three very large marine protected areas (MPAs) in US waters –the Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll, and Marianas Trench Marine National Monuments- turn 12 years old. All three were designated by executive order using the Antiquities Act by President George W. Bush on January 6, 2009. By doing so, President Bush and later President Obama fully or highly protected approximately 578340 sq miles (1,497900 sq km) of islands, atolls, marine trenches, and open ocean in the central and western Pacific Ocean—home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals, enormous seabird colonies, and some of the most ancient and largest coral communities on Earth. By itself, the Pacific Remote Islands monument is one of the largest protected areas on the planet, land or ocean.
President of Marine Conservation Institute Lance Morgan said “This is the birthday of one of the largest conservation actions of any US president or world leader. As our ocean is subjected to warming and other manmade threats, it is even more crucial now to strongly protect large areas to conserve marine life. In addition to celebrating today, Marine Conservation Institute and others are working hard to create more fully or highly protected areas in the future to conserve marine life worldwide for us and future generations. Creating enduring protections for these special places in the US Pacific was an important precedent a decade ago and a critical first step in securing at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.”
Marine Conservation Institute was responsible for many of the scientific case studies used to designate the Pacific marine monuments. The science, timeline, and maps detailing these designations can be found here. More recently, Marine Conservation Institute completed a comprehensive review of the ecological and economic importance of the monument at Rose Atoll which reinforces why it deserves marine monument status.
“Like a child entering early adolescence at 12 years old, the Pacific marine monuments are growing and finding themselves,” Morgan said. “Each year brings new discoveries in the monuments: new species, surprises in the deep sea like new seamount, and a growing understanding of the impacts of climate change and how MPAs foster resilience.”
Sarah Hameed, Director of the Blue Parks program at Marine Conservation Institute said, “The US marine monuments in the Pacific are such special, well protected and well managed places that we recently named the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument a Blue Spark, indicating that it is on the way to earning a Blue Park Award for outstanding marine conservation. One day, when the management plan for this area is completed, we hope that it will be a model for effective marine biodiversity conservation.”
About Marine Conservation Institute
Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the U.S. and globally to seek strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030—for us and future generations. Our focus on protecting the ocean’s most important places follows several lines of work: identifying and advocating for strong marine protected areas; improving laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas as Blue Parks and Blue Sparks; and accurately reporting on conservation efforts with our Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas.org).