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Obama To Create Largest Protected Marine Area on the Planet

Lee Gillenwater/The Pew Charitable Trusts
Lee Gillenwater/The Pew Charitable Trusts

President Barack Obama has announced plans to expand the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, more than quadrupling its current size. That will make it the largest marine protected area in the world. The expansion permanently protects thousands of marine species and coral reef systems in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Deputy Director of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands William Aila was excited to hear the news. He was among a group of Native Hawaiians who had signed a letter earlier this year urging the President to go forward with the expansion.

Opponents of the expansion have included many from the fishing industry, who believe it will negatively impact their business and drive up prices for local seafood. Sean Martin is the President of Hawai‘i Longline Association.


President Obama will mark the historic event by traveling to Hawai‘i next week to speak at the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He’ll then travel to Midway Atoll on Thursday to visit the Marine Monument in person.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon joined HPR in May 2012 as an intern for the morning talk show The Conversation. She has since worn a variety of hats around the station, doing everything from board operator to producer.
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