Blog

Ocean Currents

What’s at Stake: National Marine Monuments

Rose Atoll2_crop
© DR. ROBERT SCHROEDER, NOAA/NMFS/PISC/JIMAR/CRED

In a deeply worrisome and unprecedented move, the Secretary of Interior just recommended that the Trump administration dismantle some of our nation’s national marine monuments. Three of our nation’s most culturally important marine areas could now have their boundaries modified and be opened up to commercial extraction.

Interior Secretary Zinke is targeting three ocean monuments:

  • Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean: 55,608,320 miles of protected water established by President Bush in 2009 and expanded in 2014. When it was expanded in 2014, this monument was the largest marine protected area in the world, making it the global crown jewel of ocean conservation.
  • Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa/Pacific Ocean: 8,609,045 miles of protected water established by President Bush in 2009.
  • Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean: 3,114,320 miles of protected water established by President Obama in 2016 as the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

As Americans, we all have a common moral obligation to preserve the outdoors for our children and grandchildren. And there’s a lot at stake.

  • Important habitat: National marine monuments provide critical habitat for whales, sharks, seabirds and other at-risk marine wildlife.
  • Our tradition of conservation: Since the establishment of monument designation more than a century ago, our tradition of protecting our national treasures has been upheld. Opening up national monument to commercial extraction would be unprecedented.
  • Bipartisanship: Support for national monuments is bipartisan and overwhelming. Studies have shown that an overwhelming 90% of voters support Presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness.

These protected habitats must be preserved.

Related Articles