Originally published on September 30, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
Goal: Applaud the president’s decision to dramatically expand the marine sanctuary near Hawaii
The steady decline of coral reefs and sea life has prompted President Obama to significantly expand a marine sanctuary near Hawaii. A previous ForceChange petition warned of the hazards of overfishing and the destruction wrought upon Hawaii’s marine life and ecosystems. This decision to expand the sanctuary is a huge step in the right direction, and the president should be commended for taking this action.
Established in 2009, the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument has now grown from 82,000 square miles to 490,000 square miles. The president’s decision has allowed the preserve to grow six times larger and nearly three times larger than California. Many endangered and species occupying this area include dolphins, whales, sea turtles, groupers, reef sharks, pearl oysters, coconut crabs, bumphead parrotfish, and giant clams.
Although Hawaiian tuna fishing companies fought against the idea, the White House has produced the largest marine reserve in the world completely off limits to commercial fishing and resource extraction. By invoking the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president is granted the authority to enshrine unique natural and historic sites without congressional approval. The law has previously been invoked to protect landmarks including the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.