President Bush designated three ecologically significant areas encompassing 195,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean as Marine National Monuments under the Antiquities Act on January 6th, 2009. These three sites are named Marianas Marine National Monument, Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, and Rose Atoll National Monument.
Marine Conservation Institute and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have worked together for nearly two years to encourage the Bush Administration to protect two of the three areas, Rose Atoll and Pacific Remote Islands, from continued threats to ocean life.
The Pacific Remote Islands National Monument includes seven remote island possessions and territories and surrounding waters in the Central Pacific –Wake Island, Johnston Island, Palmyra Island, Kingman Reef, Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Island. These areas include some of the most pristine tropical islands and coral reef ecosystems in the world. The other area originally proposed by Marine Conservation Institute and EDF is Rose Atoll which is the world’s smallest atoll and part of the Territory of American Samoa.
These islands contain nearly four times as many shallow water reef building coral species as the entire Florida Keys, hundreds of fish species, and dozens of species of seabirds. Migrating fish, turtles, birds and marine mammals frequent the islands, including endangered and threatened green and hawksbill sea turtles, whales, and large migratory fish. Some of these islands are also important to Polynesian and Micronesian, military and aviation history.