Dec 29, 2014 12:00PM
America’s First Underwater Park is in the PacificThe Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument—about 470,000 square miles of ocean surrounding a couple of remote U.S. Pacific islands—is now officially set aside to protect its pristine habitat from deep-sea mining and commercial fishing. Although smaller than the nearly 800,000 square miles of its original plan, the park is still six times larger than the 87,000-square-mile reserve originally envisioned, or twice the size of Texas.
In a final compromise, fishermen will have access to the waters around half of the islands and atolls, while the other half remains protected. Only 2 percent of the entire Pacific enjoys similar protection.