But in the U.S., protected land area is now about equal to protected ocean area. And that's even more important, because the area of ocean that belongs to the U.S. is the largest in the world. Every country owns what's called an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that extends 200 nautical miles from its coastlines. Because the U.S. owns Pacific Island chains and other areas with lots of coastline, our EEZ is larger than any other country. And that means the U.S. is responsible for protecting more ocean area.
"Prior to yesterday, 6 percent of the U.S. ocean was highly protected," Rand told The Dodo earlier this week. "With today's announcement, the number is up to 15 percent."
It's not perfect, but the move is certainly good news for threatened ocean species. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is home to a wealth of species, like oceanic whitetip sharks, manta rays, green sea turtles, bull sharks, Pacific bluefin tuna and humpback whales. For these species, more protection is a good thing.