Obama Says Aloha to World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

President Barack Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (say that five times fast!) today which lies in the waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. At 582,578 square miles, it is the largest marine protected area in the globe.

White House seal take 10

(image courtesy of the White House)

The expansion is part of the commemoration of the National Park Service’s 100 year anniversary, which was officially celebrated on Aug. 25. The White House also announced this week that it has established the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Northern Maine, protecting approximately 87,500 acres, sealing Obama’s legacy of conserving more land and water than any president in U.S. history.

The latest marine national monument is located northwest of Honolulu, where Obama was born, and expands the monument that was originally created by former President George W. Bush in 2006, according to an Interior Department announcement today.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is part of the most remote island archipelago on the planet and contains more than 7,000 marine species, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, three endangered whale species and two endangered sea turtles. Commercial fishing and other extraction activities are prohibited in the expanded marine monument, but recreational fishing and scientific research are allowed by permit, according to Interior.