CEO Note: President Obama Designates Largest Marine Reserve in the World | Oceana

Last month, President Obama finalized the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument ­­— the largest marine reserve in the entire world. First created by President George W. Bush in 2009, the reserve is centered around several islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean. The newly expanded reserve will protect an area three times the size of California from commercial fishing, dumping, and mining.

On behalf of Oceana and the ocean conservation community, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate this extraordinary presidential action.

In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant made an equally significant conservation commitment when he created the world’s first national Park — Yellowstone — in the western United States. Thirty years later, President Teddy Roosevelt expanded upon this legacy by creating the U.S. Forest Service and establishing 150 National Forests and five National Parks. In total, Teddy Roosevelt — a Republican president and cattle rancher — protected approximately 230,000,000 acres of public land.

More than a century later, it’s rare for a president to take such a bold step for conservation. We at Oceana applaud President Obama and the countless others who helped make the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument a reality, including our friend Enric Sala.

Sala, a marine ecologist and explorer-in-residence at National Geographic, was instrumental in the creation of this new reserve. He spent the past several years manning scientific expeditions to these islands to document their astounding biodiversity.

Sala has also lent his scientific expertise to Oceana. In 2013, Oceana partnered with Sala and National Geographic to explore the Desventuradas, two remote islands more than 500 miles off the Chilean coastline. Like the new Pacific reserve, these islands are a hotspot for biodiversity and their protection is immensely important to the surrounding marine ecosystem.

We hope that Oceana will have more opportunities to work with National Geographic in Chile and other places around the world in the future. You can learn more about our joint expedition to the Desventuradas here. And for more information about the creation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, read this article from National Geographic.

I hope you will share this wonderful news for the oceans with your family and friends, and I thank you for supporting our cause. 

For the oceans,
Andrew Sharpless
Chief Executive Officer