The nation’s newest national park lives under water.
In June 2014, President Obama announced he was going to create a huge national water park. No, no. Not a water park with slides, “clean” pools and ill-fitting bathing suits, but a marine water park.
Grist reports that the approval of that new national park came in late September 2014. Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument, the new marine park, will span 470,000 square miles of ocean. The location of the park is around a couple of “remote Pacific islands.” Obama made this political move on his own, without congressional approval, reports The Washington Post. The president was able to act by using the 1906 Antiquities Act, which is meant to protect environmental assets.
While Obama originally wanted to expand this area to about 800,000 square feet, and encompass the entire area of surrounding the islands, he scaled down the plan to limit any economic impact on U.S. fishing interests, reports the Post. However, the park is still impressive and it is twice the size of Texas, reports Grist.
The stretch of ocean will remain pristine. No deep-sea mining will be allowed. No commercial fishing will be permitted, either.
This “commercial fishing free zone” will help the Pacific bluefin tuna population. According to Grist, bluefin tuna are struggling. The fish are incredibly popular to eat, so the lack of strong international fishing agreements allow the bluefin to be over-fished. This park will serve as a “safe zone” for the tuna. The bluefin is known to flock to this area of the ocean during warmer seasons.
While this national park will significantly help preserve the bluefin tuna population, it will also allow the area’s surrounding ecosystems, which contain underwater mountains where “ancient corals, manta rays, sharks, sea turtles,” and other types of marine life, call home, to thrive.
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Image: Nazir Amin