New Ocean Monuments Give President Bush a Blue Legacy
Pew Applauds Historic Action
“This historic action by President Bush protects some of the world’s most unique and biologically significant ocean habitat,” said
The largest of the protected areas surrounds the
A marine mammal survey in the area found 19 species, including several rare species of beaked whales. The land areas shelter the endangered Micronesian megapode, which is the only bird known to use volcanic heat to incubate its eggs, threatened fruit bats, more than a dozen species of migratory seabirds with breeding populations numbering over 200,000 and giant coconut crabs — the largest land-living arthropod in the world.
For the past two years, the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy Program has worked with the Bush Administration as well as citizens and elected officials in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas to promote the concept of a large-scale marine reserve in the waters surrounding the Mariana Islands. More than 200 local businesses and 6,000 citizens signed petitions supporting world-class marine monument designation.
In partnership with the islands’ business community and Friends of the Monument, a local organization promoting the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, the Pew Environment Group helped organize more than 100 public meetings to vet the proposed monument in open forums. It also developed the first comprehensive scientific profile of the biological and geological resources contained within the proposed monument site, plus an assessment of the potential economic benefits of monument designation to the Marianas economy.
“We are proud that President Bush has recognized the importance and richness of the Mariana Island waters,” said
These remote and beautiful islands and waters have a rich history. Wake Island and Saipan were the sites of important battles in WWII, and islands in the Mariana Archipelago harbored some of the last Japanese holdouts of the war.
“We will gain immeasurably more from having these places kept safe than we would from plundering in the short term whatever commercial resources they might contain,” said Reichert. “In his efforts to balance competing interests, the president weighed the long term benefits to the marine environment and to the American people of protecting these places before they are ruined, and decided they are worth more intact than whatever commercial benefits might be derived from fishing, drilling or mining them. The President’s decision is a tribute to common sense.”
For more information about the Mariana Trench, including high quality photos, please visit the Global Ocean Legacy Web site at www.globaloceanlegacy.org.
Broadcast quality footage is available at the following FTP address: 188.8.131.52
Global Ocean Legacy is a project initiated by the Pew Environment Group in partnership with the Oak Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. Its goal is to work with local citizens and governments to secure the designation of a handful of world-class, no-take marine reserves that will provide ecosystem scale benefits and help conserve our global marine heritage.
SOURCE Pew Environment Group