Greenpeace Responds to Expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
by Perry Wheeler
Washington, DC - Today, President Obama will expand Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument making it the largest marine sanctuary in the world. The designation will ban commercial fishing and mineral extraction in the region. The UN meeting to discuss a new high seas biodiversity treaty beginning today and the Our Ocean conference next month provide excellent opportunities for the international community to build on this momentum.
In response to today’s news, Greenpeace Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar said:
“President Obama’s expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National makes it the largest sanctuary for ocean life in the world. This is a bold decision that will have lasting benefits for Hawaii’s unique ecosystem. Networks of sanctuaries have proven to be powerful tools to ensure the health of our oceans. Setting aside areas closed to fishing, drilling and other extractive uses is the best way to protect biodiversity, rebuild depleted fish populations, and increase the resilience of marine ecosystems so they can better withstand the impacts of climate change.
“Bolder steps are still needed. Less than two percent of the world’s oceans are protected from fishing, and many scientists suggest a target of 40 percent. It is vital that we take steps like President Obama did in Hawaii to prevent future expansion of industrial fisheries, but we also need to look at areas closer to our population centers. Most of the world’s coastal fisheries have been severely depleted. With few limitations on fishing in these areas, recovery is slow. Our coasts are dotted with former fishing communities that are no longer able to find enough fish to sustain their livelihoods.
“Setting aside 40% of our marine ecosystems – in remote areas as well as those closer to home – will help preserve the health of our oceans and our communities.”
Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Media Officer, P: 301-675-8766