NEW YORK Today two of the world's largest marine protected areas announced a historic alliance to enhance the management and protection of almost 300,000 square miles of marine habitat in the Pacific Ocean.
President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kee Ree Bass), signed an agreement with the United States that establishes a "sister site" relationship between the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area near the equator in the Republic of Kiribati. Managers of both sites will meet in November in French Polynesia to formalize the agreement.
Combined, the two sites encompass 25 percent of all marine protected areas on Earth. The partnership links the sites and is designed to enhance management knowledge and practices for these tropical and subtropical marine and terrestrial island ecosystems.
Eileen Sobeck, Department of the Interior deputy assistant secretary, signed the agreement on behalf of the United States. Elizabeth Moore, director of International Sanctuaries, represented NOAA at the signing.
"The United States is very pleased to engage in this marine conservation partnership with the Republic of Kiribati," said Sobeck. "In the face of challenges like climate change and increasing societal demands on ever scarcer marine resources challenges that transcend national boundaries and dwarf the ability of any single nation to address partnerships like this one are critical to the success of our efforts to preserve this natural heritage for future generations."
"This agreement represents both the culmination and the start of our work with our colleagues in Kiribati and collaboration between NOAA and our colleagues in the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to demonstrate the benefit of collaboration to protect these valuable resources," said Moore.
When it was establish
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