Every coastal nation controls the 244 miles of ocean that extends from its coasts. These “exclusive economic zones” grant Pacific island states control over vast expanses of the sea, with territorial waters extending in all directions from distant archipelagoes.
Despite facing civilization-ending dangers from rising seas, these countries have emerged as key players in protecting a biodiverse section of the ocean from climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Follow satiknews for latest updates.
The smallest countries have some of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries. In 2015, Palau banned commercial fishing in 80% of its EEZ. That same year, Kiribati outlawed industrial fishing in a marine reserve the size of California.
Two years later, the Cook Islands designated its whole 1.9 million-square-kilometer (733,594-square-mile) exclusive economic zone as a marine protected area, while Niue (population of 1,700) outlawed fishing in an ocean nearly the size of Greece.
The Nature Conservancy’s involvement in the government’s decision to reopen an ocean reserve for industrial fishing reflects the global debate over how to help Pacific island governments threatened by climate change.