Welcome to the promising, confusing, and maddening world of marine reserves…
The National Marine Protected Areas Center has released a new 8 page fact-sheet that provides an overview of Marine Reserves in the United States. Some interesting points that come out of it is that just 3% of U.S. territorial waters are protected reserves – but that is mostly made up of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Reserve National Monument in Hawaii. Without that park, less than one tenth of one percent of US water are protected.
So what? Sooo… Look at Misool Eco Resort and everything they’ve done. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) replenish fish stocks, encourage responsible tourism (and dollars!) which employs people, and improves all-around damaged ecosystems.
This is my favorite part of the article, but the whole thing is worth a read if you want to learn more about Marine Reserves and MPA’s in general:
The report’s revelation, though, comes in what’s not listed. The Marianas Trench National Marine Monument, a massive marine reserve announced with great fanfare in January 2009 (it was the Bush Administration’s final-weeks bid for an environmental legacy), isn’t included in the report. Why not? Turns out it’s not a marine reserve after all. If you read the fine print of Bush’s executive order, you’ll find that the 95,000-square-kilometer Marianas Trench National Marine Monument protects the seafloor trench but not the six-mile-deep water column above it.