US announces world’s largest protected area

The United States Government has expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, forming the largest protected area on the planet.

President Barack Obama signed a proclamation expanding the conservation area which now covers 1,508,870 square kilometres, nearly the size of the Gulf of Mexico.

Papahānaumokuākea is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is designated as a “Particularly Sensitive Sea Area” by the International Maritime Organization.

Papahānaumokuākea is home to millions of seabirds, a number of Native Hawaiian cultural sites, a variety of endangered and unique species, and high-density deep-sea biological communities.