US Protects Huge Area Of Important Marine Habitat
US protects huge area of important marine habitat
A total of 195,280 square miles (505,773 sq km) of important marine habitat has been protected by the United States with the creation of three large new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Pacific.
All three new MPAs contain important whale and dolphin habitat, and the largest of these, the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, was found to have 19 species of marine mammals, including several rare beaked whales in a recent survey. It also has the deepest trench on Earth, nearly 7 miles (11 km) deep.
The other two new MPAs are the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, which include the waters around US Pacific Islands.
Commercial fishing and mining will now be banned in these areas, although recreational fishing, whale watching, diving and other marine tourism will be allowed to continue and develop.
This is good news for whale and dolphin conservation. Erich Hoyt, Global Marine Protected Area Campaign leader for WDCS said: "We had hoped for much larger areas to be protected, but this is indeed a significant step forward toward the US meeting the 2012 commitments in terms of designating new marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks. Now its time for the rest of the world to accelerate the process creating effective MPAs to protect marine mammals and other species and ecosystems worldwide."
In October 2008, WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, launched a 5-year campaign including a Global Petition to create 12 large, highly protected safe havens or MPAs for whales and dolphins as their contribution to 2012 targets. WDCS is asking everyone to sign this Global Petition to put pressure on governments and regional treaties. To add your name to the petition, click here.