Britain Creates World's Largest Marine Sanctuary

The British government announced the creation of the world’s largest marine sanctuary today, protecting an area more than triple its size in its South Pacific Ocean territory.

At 322,138 square miles, the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve  protects at least 1250 species, including 365 kinds of fish and 22 species of whales and dolphins in the most pristine ocean habitat left on Earth.

Pew Charitable Trusts will use a satellite monitoring system called Virtual Watch Room to detect any illegal fishing in real time:

Ocean Virtual Watch

The announcement is in line with a growing international movement to protect the ocean, with over 2.5 million square miles in marine preserves to date. 

In 2010, the UK created the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Marine Reserve – the largest continuous,  protected area until today. Australia expanded protection for the Great Barrier Reef, and last year, President Obama significantly expanded the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument.

Still, only about 1% of the world’s ocean is fully protected.

Ocean Wins in 2014

While the ocean remains in serious trouble from overfishing, pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction, there are more and more success stories.

If you get HBO, this week’s episode is Countdown to Extinction -about industrial over-fishing.

Here are all the ocean preserves:

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