Kiribati Announces New MPA for Entire Coral Archipelago
March 31, 2006 - Seaspan
By PEW INSTITUTE FOR OCEAN SCIENCE, Polita Glynn
The Republic of Kiribati announced the creation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), the largest marine protected area in the Pacific Islands and the third largest in the world. Surpassed in size only by Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Northeastern Hawaiian Islands, the PIPA represents 8 percent of all marine protected areas on Earth and helps safeguard more than 73,000 square miles of nearly pristine marine wilderness. More than 120 species of coral and 520 species of reef fish have been identified in the area, as well as dolphins, sea turtles, and healthy seabird populations. It contains a near pristine coral archipelago with abundant marine and bird life, and is the first marine protected area in the region with deep-sea habitat, including underwater mountains. The PIPA is the result of a partnership with the New England Aquarium (NEAq) and Conservation International (CI). A management plan being developed by the partners aims to include careful zoning, to allow for subsistence harvesting and other sustainable economic opportunities, and for capacity building to allow enforcement of regulations. Kiribati will be compensated for its investment through a unique endowment system, demonstrating the potential economic return of choosing conservation efforts over extractive industries. CI's Global Conservation Fund will finance the implementation phase and initiate the endowment. Pew Fellow Greg Stone has led the NEAq's efforts, with the legal help of Pew Fellow Peter Shelley. Stone's first expedition to the Phoenix Islands occurred during and was supported, in part, by his Pew Fellowship (1997-2000). More recently, a Collaborative Initiative Fund from the Pew Fellows Program allowed Stone and Shelley to combine their expertise and help the Kiribati MPA become a reality.
Jennifer Shatwell: Convention on Biological Diversity New Marine Protected Area Safeguards Entire Coral Archipelago. Conservation International FrontLines, 28 March 2006.
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