Photo by @BrianSkerry
US President Barack Obama explores the waters off Midway Atoll on September 1st, 2016, seeing firsthand these valuable and fragile marine ecosystems in US waters. A few days before, the President expanded the boundaries of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in this region, creating the world's largest marine protected area. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was first designated by President George W. Bush.
Scientists have stated that in order to have a healthy ocean and a healthy planet, at least 40% of Earth’s oceans should be protected from damaging practices such as over fishing and mining. Currently only about 3% of the ocean is protected. Every other breath that humans take comes from the sea, more than 50% of the oxygen needed for life is generated by the ocean. The creation of marine reserves has also been proven to help protect against the damaging effects of climate change. Conserving precious marine habitats then, is necessary for our own healthy future.
With only about 3% of oceans currently protected, we have a long way to go, but these conservation efforts are substantial steps of progression this direction.
To learn more about America’s unique ocean places, check out the February issue of National Geographic Magazine (@natgeo) and the cover story, ‘Sea of Change.' To see more images and stories about the ocean, follow @BrianSkerry
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