Marine Conservation Institute works to secure permanent protection for important ecosystems throughout the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including the recently expanded Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. At 490,343 square miles, the expanded monument is now the largest protected area on Earth, land or sea. President Obama’s expansion, announced on September 25, 2014, was a crowning moment of nearly a decade of Marine Conservation Institute’s efforts. In years prior, we played a central role in the 2009 designation of the Rose Atoll and the original Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, as well as the 2006 designation of Papahānaumokuākea, the very first marine national monument. These protected areas are home to some of the most biologically diverse and pristine coral reef ecosystems in the world and serve as refuges for many species of marine wildlife.
Marine Conservation Institute actively works to foster greater cooperation and collaboration among agencies that manage these protected areas to ensure good laws and management plans are in place. We work closely with federal law enforcement agencies to ensure they have the right resources and tools to enforce US marine protection laws and keep out boats that conduct illegal and destructive fishing practices in America’s waters. We are also committed to helping protect endangered marine wildlife in these waters, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Hawaiian monk seals were once numerous throughout the Hawaiian Island archipelago, but are now reduced to a dwindling population concentrated mostly in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands due to a variety of natural and man-made causes.
Using our unique blend of expertise in science and public policy, we work closely with our federal, state, and non-governmental partners to address these and other ocean challenges. With good management, sound science, and adequate resources, these special marine national monuments will be preserved for their ecological and cultural value for generations to come.