On October 28, 2015, Tommy E. Remengesua, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau signed into law the “Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act,” creating “the sixth largest marine protected area in the world, while setting aside a zone for domestic fishing.” According to Nature Conservancy Palau supports more than 400 species of coral species and nearly 1,300 varieties of reef fish.
Scientists are studying coral reefs in areas where low pH is naturally occurring to answer questions about ocean acidification, which threatens coral reef ecosystems worldwide. A new study led by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that coral reefs in Palau seem to be defying the odds, showing none of the predicted responses to low pH except for an increase in bio-erosion--the physical breakdown of coral skeletons by boring organisms such as mollusks and worms.
U.K. government establishes world’s largest fully protected marine reserve and sets a new standard for monitoring. The 834,334-square-kilometre reserve (322,138 square miles) is home to at least 1,249 species of marine mammals, seabirds and fish, the new reserve protects some of the most near-pristine ocean habitat on Earth.
Expanded protections near the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the south-central Pacific Ocean will add to the Pacific Marine Protected Areas, Marine National Monuments, designated by President George W. Bush, and the declaration of the Phoenix Islands a protected area to ensure its biological diversity and sustainability by small Pacific Island nation of Kiribati.
Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas, by Sylvia A. Earle and Linda K. Glover just released (2009) by National Geographic offers state of the art maps of the ocean’s sea floors including the areas of the newly designated National Marine Monuments.