In this excellent short video from Conservation International, the importance of creating a vast network of protected areas in the Pacific is explained. It can be hard to understand how the protection of one area of ocean will impact the health and economies of nations thousands of miles away, or even on the other side of the globe. But when one looks out at the rolling waters of the Pacific, it becomes clear that what one nation does affects another. That is why 15 island nations have committed to create the largest protected area network on the planet.
From Conservation International:
Designed with support from Conservation International (CI), the Pacific Oceanscape concept was introduced to the Pacific Islands Forum by Kiribati in 2009; the Framework for the cooperative stewardship of their combined ocean territories was presented a year later, receiving unanimous endorsement by the heads of state and government of 15 participating nations.
And while many of the collaborators may be tiny island nations with modest terrestrial areas, their expansive exclusive economic zones (EEZ) effectively make them massive ocean states. (The ratio of EEZ to land for Kiribati, for example, is a staggering 4,890:1) Together, the nations of the Pacific Oceanscape control some 10 percent of the world's ocean surface — an area four times the size of the United States. These are economically important waters, hosting the world's largest remaining stocks of tuna and providing nearly half of the world's tuna catch. They are ecologically sensitive waters as well, putting the residents of nations like Kiribati, where the effects of rising sea levels already are being felt, on the front lines of climate change.
Learn more from the video above and from visiting the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) website, as PIPA is the inspiration for a much larger plan for ocean conservation.