The designation involves establishing three new "national monument" areas that will encompass some of the most biologically diverse places known to scientists. These zones include undersea volcanoes, hot seafloor vents, submarine pools of sulphur and the Marianas Trench — the deepest area of ocean on the planet. The move also will protect the Marianas island group, including Saipan and Tinian, which played significant roles during the Second World War.
James Connaughton, president George W Bush’s environmental advisor, said the decision meant that the United States was "setting the mark for the world with respect to effective marine management".
While welcoming the protection package, environmental activists said that without addressing the root causes of global warming, such as greenhouse-gas emissions, other measures would be meaningless. Brendan Cummings, oceans programme director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said: "Ultimately, Bush’s legacy as a climate criminal will far outweigh his ocean legacy, as any benefit coral reefs receive from this monument designation will be bleached away by warming seas".
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