With President Obama and other world leaders discussing climate change at the United Nations in New York City this week, the oceans and the entire marine world came into play on September 24, 2014. Climate change has been confirmed to be the culprit causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise steadily. This has a devastating effect on coral reefs and ultimately the different species that stay close to these reefs. Carbon pollution is also causing issues with the ocean environment in the form of acidification, which in turn, damages coastal reefs and shellfish beds. The acidity of the ocean is rapidly changing with it taking place 50 times quicker than any known change in millions of years.
On September 25, 2014, the President will sign a proclamation which will designate the largest marine reserve in the world as completely off limits to any and all commercial resource extraction which includes commercial fishing and deep sea mining. This marks a historic turning point for the marine ecosystems located in the South-Central Pacific Ocean. Such a pristine and serene area in the South-Central Pacific Ocean was specifically chosen because research has proven that large marine protected areas assist greatly in the rebuilding process for biodiversity, as well as supporting fish populations and improving the overall ecosystem resilience. Protection for sea turtles and manta rays will meet with extensive approval and applause as many marine organizations have been dedicating their entire efforts to making this a reality.
Not only will this proclamation have advantageous effects on the sea population and reefs, but the seabirds that fly within the realm of the marine reserve will also be able to benefit positively. The birds bring nutrients that are caught at sea, back into the near-shore environment to help sustain the ecosystems.
The expanded monument will continue to be managed by the Departments of the Interior and Commerce through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration respectively. The Agencies will develop management plans pursuant to their respective authorities under the Antiquities Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act, and other relevant authorities to ensure proper care and management of the Monument.
The President has also designated 11 other national monuments across the United States so he can permanently protect sites that are pivotal to the nation’s rich history and natural heritage.