President Bush created three new marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean today, spanning 195,280 square miles. The decision to make the designations under the Antiquities Act, coming just two weeks before Bush leaves office, means that he will have protected more square miles of ocean than any person in history. In 2006 Bush created the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, an area of 138,000 square miles. Part of the new designation includes the deepest part of our planet: the nearly seven-mile-deep Mariana Trench (see image above courtesy of NOAA
This plan had been criticized by Vice President Cheney and others as reported last month in the Washington Post.
Check out some of the underwater images from this amazing place.
Read more from the Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post.
In addition, on January 13, NOAA established eight marine protected areas in south Atlantic waters to protect spawning grounds and nursery areas for deep-water fish such as snappers and groupers. Read more at NOAA’s site.