Gray reef Sharks swimming through the coral forests. Creative Commons: USFWS.

World’s Largest Marine Reserve

July 12, 2015

World’s Largest Marine Reserve

The Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument will conserve in perpetuity 1.2 million square kilometers, making it the largest marine reserve in the world. The monument will protect 5,000 year-old coral forests and provide refuge for an array of endangered species.

Oceans 5 is an international funders’ collaborative comprised of new and experienced philanthropists dedicated to protecting the world’s five oceans. Investments and support go towards large opportunistic projects and campaigns to establish marine reserves and constrain overfishing. LDF has been a Founding partner in Oceans 5 since 2011.

Oceans 5 is inspired by projects that provide multiple benefits to the oceans, fishermen, and coastal communities. Since inception, the Board has approved twenty projects including:

  • Protecting Antarctica – To create the world’s largest marine reserves in the Ross Sea and East Antarctica through grants to the Antarctic Ocean Alliance – a coalition of organizations working in multiple countries;
  • Improving Seafood Traceability in the United States – To constrain illegal fishing by creating new traceability requirements for seafood sold in the United States through grants to four leading organizations;
  • Reducing Unsustainable Shark Trade – To secure trade restrictions for five species of sharks from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered 
Species (CITES) through a grant to a coalition of six organizations working on five continents;
  • Creating a Marine Park in the Cook Islands – To establish a world class marine 
reserve in the South Pacific through grants to a local organization and traditional 
Maori leaders;
  • Constraining Illegal Fishing in the Eastern Tropical Pacific – To implement new 
accountability and control regimes for fishing vessels and ports of entry, while promoting new enforcement actions at marine reserves in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, through grants to three leading organizations in the region;
  • Strengthening High Seas Governance – To support the independent Global Ocean Commission to reduce overfishing, constrain illegal fishing, and establish marine reserves through a grant to a university in the United Kingdom;
  • Protecting the Seychelles – To support development of a “debt swap” that will establish the second largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean and create a permanent trust fund for marine conservation through a grant to two organizations;
  • Protecting the Arctic – To secure almost a dozen new marine reserves in Russia, Canada, and Greenland through grants to national and local organizations;
  • Expanding Protections in the United States’ Remote Pacific Islands – To support executive action by President Obama to establish the world’s largest fully protected area through grants to multiple organizations working in Hawaii.

Expected 2015 – 2016 Outcomes: Several Oceans 5 projects will likely produce significant results over the next year, including:

  • Promulgating draft regulations to improve seafood traceability in the United States, likely in the fall of 2015;
  • Initiating formal international negotiations to conserve high seas biodiversity through an implementing agreement to the Law of the Sea, likely in September 2015;
  • Creating the second largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean, likely in December 2015;
  • Adopting new legislation in the Cook Islands to create a marine park, likely by the summer of 2015;
  • Completion of a radar facility at Cocos Island in Costa Rica to combat illegal fishing;
  • Establishing at least one new marine monument in the United States, likely in the Atlantic Canyon and Seamount area off Cape Cod in October 2015;
  • Establishing one or two large marine reserves in the Ross Sea or East Antarctica, likely in the fall of 2015.

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