Kiribati and the United States have embraced a shared vision of marine conservation that crosses political boundaries and helps protect pristine areas in the Pacific.
In 2014, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Republic of Kiribati President signed a Cooperative Arrangement to coordinate and jointly support research and conservation activities for nearly 490,000 square nautical miles in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the United States and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in Kiribati. PIPA also has another American sister site – Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
The arrangement strengthens cooperative management of the two protected areas, collectively called the Phoenix Ocean Arc, that make up a wide swath of the Pacific, including entire island ecosystems, coral reefs, seamounts, and marine areas.
So far, we’ve looked at deep-sea coral biodiversity and monitored heat stress for coral among other activities.
A U.S. team also worked with fisheries officers and community outreach liaisons in October 2019 on communication and assessing threats and benefits as part of the efforts to make marine protected areas work.