This is huge, as in 322,000-square-miles huge: It’s the world’s next marine reserve, the biggest stretch of sea ever protected and the second-largest nature preserve in the world. The U.K. announced yesterday that the waters surrounding its Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific will be off-limits to fishing, mining, and oil and gas exploration. More than 1,200 species, including four endangered whales, two endangered sea turtles, squirrelfish, and the many-spined butterflyfish swim there. Oh, and 69 seamounts and 327 knolls, underwater volcanoes that are important to an array of aquatic animals, rise from the sea floor.
The designation will likely be finalized as soon as the government complete the agreements about how the Pew Charitable Trusts will monitor and enforce the protections. The private charity will be using remote technology to watch over the area. Now please excuse me while I go to my scuba lesson.
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