The health of the world’s oceans is deteriorating day by day due to overfishing, pollution, and climate change. Scientists fear the conditions are ripe for the sort of mass extinction event that has afflicted the oceans in the past.
To cope with current and upcoming problems and to restore the health of the ocean for future generations, the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau is creating a vast marine sanctuary.
In Palau, there is a tradition of bul when they set aside smaller reef areas during fish spawning and feeding periods. This is done so that fish populations can have time to recover from fishing practices. Now Palau’s president has effectively extended that practice to include the major part of the country’s ocean.
This fully-protected marine reserve is one of the largest reserves on Earth and the area under it is so vast that it is larger than Alaska and Texas combined. The sanctuary will span 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles).
The reserved status of the sanctuary means that the aquatic life is safe from fishing, drilling, dumping, and other exploitation. This sanctuary is an underwater wonderland and is home to 1,300 species of fish and 700 types of coral.