Obama Announces The US’ First New Marine Sanctuaries in 15 Years

by Owen James Burke

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Above: Two of Mallows Bay, MD’s ghost ships, Caribou and Benzonia (lying across Caribou). Mallows Bay, home to over 200 rotting WWII steamships, may seem an unlikely place for a marine sanctuary, but it’s a popular hangout for shorebirds and certain fish species. Photo: Chesapeake Conservancy/Donald Shomette.

President Obama made the announcement on Monday during opening statements at the Our Ocean Conference in Valparaiso, Chile.

The two new sanctuaries will be relatively small–one on Lake Michigan (875 square miles) and the other in Mallows Bay (14 square miles) on the Potomac River in Maryland, just south of Washington D.C.–and while Lake Michigan may not technically be a “marine” environment, or Mallow’s Bay “offshore”, as The Washington Post writes, they’re signs that the United States is headed in the right direction with marine conservation.

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Above: The proposed 14 square mile sanctuary in Mallows Bay, Maryland. Map: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Below: The proposed 875-square mile sanctuary on Lake Michigan. Map: NOAA.

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Obama’s announcement follows a recent trend set by the British Commonwealth, which in the past year has announced plans for two of what will be the world’s largest marine sanctuaries (one in New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands, the other in the Pitcairn Islands).

Read more at The Washington Post. —OJB

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