Here is the third and last story on the Obama marine monuments expansion, showing it's not what it was portrayed to be
Today, September 25, John Kerry is going to announce President Obama's intention not to create the world's biggest marine reserve. So why is the press reporting that the president is creating the world's biggest marine reserve?
Read about it here.
In a nutshell, Obama, like Bush in the closing days of his administration, had proposed to turn the entire Exclusive Economic Zones of five remote Pacific atolls into marine national monuments. Bush had encountered resistance from the Navy and ended up declring only the middle 11% of the zones. Today, Obama, who I'm told had opposition from the powerful Hawaii fishing lobby but not the Navy, will close the entire EEZ of the three least-fished islands. They range in size from 440,000 km2 to 316,000 km2, and are separated by more than 1000 km of water. Among the two others is Howland and Baker, which happens to share a 218-km border with the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Kiribati's President Anote tong has promised to close it to all fishing at the end of the year. If Obama had closed Howland and Baker too, the 8-shaped two reserves would have totaled 840,000 km, making them -- it -- the biggest marine reserve in the world. ut he didn't, and the title still belongs to Britain's Chagos Islands in the Indian ocean, which cover 640,000 of fish-rich tropical waters.
Here's an old piece I did for Science that helps understand why remote Pacific islands like Palmyra are worth preserving. Six years after President Bush ended all fishing in the waters 50 nautical miles off Palmyra (and four others), President Obama has proposed extending the protection all the way out to 200 miles, thus including the islands' entire Exclusive Economic Zone. This would keep would-be poachers further away from the reefs and allow all manner of