PRESS Statement: Immediate Release
Lance Morgan, PhD, President
Marine Conservation Institute
[Washington, DC, March 21, 2023] — Today, at the Conservation in Action Summit in Washington, DC President Biden announced two new monuments in the United States long sought by Indigenous people. For the oceans, he announced the administration’s intention to create a new marine sanctuary in the Central Pacific around US islands that are currently part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Under his proposal, the monument would be overlaid by a marine sanctuary and the boundaries of the sanctuary would extend out to the full 200-mile limit around each island, adding almost 700,000 sq km to the ocean protected by US sanctuaries, monuments, and other forms of marine protected area.
Dr. Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute, said, “The administration’s announcement today at the Conservation in Action Summit that it will propose a new national marine sanctuary around the existing Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument out to the limits of the US Exclusive Economic Zone is an exciting and important decision for several reasons. A new sanctuary covering the ocean around these islands out to the 200-mile limit will provide protection for wondrous marine life, large seabird populations, migrating and nesting sea turtles and the numerous underwater seamounts found in these areas. The proposal would also contribute to achieving the President’s goal of conserving 30% of US lands and waters by 2030. But to achieve the high level of conservation needed to protect marine life and restore our ocean the proposed sanctuary must provide a high level of protection and eliminate commercial fishing in line with the existing marine national monument.”
“We have been working with NOAA and Fish and Wildlife Service for over a decade to create a management plan for the Pacific Islands monument and the addition of the Sanctuary program’s management expertise will create a strong template to model protections for other marine sanctuaries in US waters.”
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 accurately reporting on global conservation efforts with our Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas.org).