Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order increasing the country’s Pacific Ocean sanctuary to preserve what could be the world’s largest protected area.
The proposed order the 87,000-square-mile Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to almost 782,000 square miles and stop fishing and energy exploration activities there.
The said area is adjacent to seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States. The former Bush administration created the national monument in 2009 to also provide shelter for nearly two dozen species of marine mammals, five types of threatened sea turtles, and a variety of sharks and other predatory fish species.
In a video to participants at a State Department conference on Tuesday, Obama said he wants the nation’s most precious marine landscapes to be protected from degradation.
The order is expected to meet opposition from Republican lawmakers, who see it as another usurpation of the Congress’ powers, and tuna fishers who depend in the area for their catch. The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that 3 percent of the annual U.S. tuna catch in the western and central Pacific come from the region, where the national monument lies.