25
September
2014
|
05:11 PM
America/New_York

Obama Administration Announces Expansion of National Monument in Pacific

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25, 2014

Contact: Courtney Sexton, 202-772-0253, csexton@defenders.org

Obama Administration Announces Major Expansion of Marine National Monument in Pacific

Expanded Monument in Pacific Ocean centered around national wildlife refuges will protect marine wildlife

WASHINGTON – Today the Obama administration announced the dramatic expansion of an existing marine wildlife national monument in the Pacific Ocean. The expanded monument is anchored to and built off of existing national wildlife refuges in the Pacific Ocean and extends protections up to 200 miles around refuge islands. The expansion of the monument increases the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to ten times its current size. The president has now created the largest marine reserve in the National Wildlife Refuge System and the world that is completely off-limits to commercial resource extraction, including commercial fishing. National monuments are areas declared by Presidential Executive Order as specially protected public preserves.

The following is a statement by Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“Today’s announcement by the Obama administration signals a huge victory for fish, marine wildlife and the health of our oceans. Expansion of this national monument builds upon the conservation efforts of the existing national wildlife refuges in the Pacific – expanding their conservation reach from protecting the incredible wildlife on land and near shore waters to the equally important seabirds, fish, wildlife and ecosystems far out into the ocean. This is a great day for the National Wildlife Refuge System and a great day for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Science has shown that the creation of marine reserves is critical to protecting the incredible diversity of marine life, and supports declining fish populations.

“The area chosen for the expansion of the existing monument in the south-central Pacific is a noted hotbed of biodiversity – the monument’s waters are home to numerous protected species including at least 22 species of marine mammal and five species of sea turtles. Unfortunately, this area is also particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and so expanding the scope and reach of this monument is essential to conserving that biodiversity.

“By using the authority of the Antiquities Act, the president is following in the footsteps of virtually every president since the law was passed and used so successfully by Theodore Roosevelt over 100 years ago to ensure that future generations of Americans benefit from the country’s bountiful natural and cultural legacy, on land and in oceans and waterways.”

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.