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World’s Largest Marine Reserve Declared

February 14, 2008

This just in from the New York Times: World’s Largest Marine Reserve Declared.

The tiny Pacific islands nation of Kiribati declared the world’s largest marine protected area Thursday — a California-sized ocean wilderness that includes pristine reefs and eight coral atolls teeming with fish and birds.

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area, or PIPA, lies about halfway between Hawaii and Fiji and also includes undersea mountains. It will conserve one of the Earth’s last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems.

It is a great example of long-term thinking. In the short-term, the Kiribati goverment will lose some revenue from foreign commercial fishing licenses, but in the long-term they will most likely increase their revenue overall with the increase in tourism.

”Kiribati has taken an inspirational step in increasing the size of PIPA well beyond the original eight atolls and globally important seabird, fish and coral reef communities,” Greg Stone, New England Aquarium vice president of global marine programs, said in a statement.

We agree. When can we go visit?

Visit their website: www.phoenixislands.org

Photo taken from the National Geographic feature on the Phoenix Islands.

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