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Natural Awakenings

Pristine Protection: America’s Huge New Underwater Park

The Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument—about 470,000 square miles of ocean surrounding a couple of remote U.S. Pacific islands—is now officially set aside to protect its pristine habitat from deep-sea mining and commercial fishing. Although smaller than the nearly 800,000 square miles of its original plan, the park is still twice the size of Texas.

In a final compromise, fishermen will have access to the waters around half of the islands and atolls, while the other half remains protected. Only 2 percent of the entire Pacific enjoys similar protection.

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