SEA Currents: News
June 14, 2017
SEA supports UN planning for Phoenix Islands Protected Area
Last week, SEA joined in committing to advance science and partnership in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area.
At the UN Ocean Conference, held June 5th through 9th, the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee made a voluntary commitment to implement UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development", with support from SEA and other collaborating organizations*.
Specifically, this commitment includes generating a new ten-year research plan for the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), one of the largest marine protected areas and the largest -- and deepest -- UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Developed by the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee in partnership with local, regional and international research institutions and scientists, the research plan will address questions of ocean acidification, science-based fisheries management, and the development of research capacity and scientific cooperation. Once completed, it will be submitted for approval by the PIPA Management Committee and the Government of Kiribati.
Coinciding with events at the UN, 24 college students enrolled in the fourth SEA Semester Protecting the Phoenix Islands summer class recently arrived at the Sea Education Association campus in Woods Hole, where they are now preparing for their own expedition to the Phoenix Islands. In several weeks time, they will join SSV Robert C. Seamans in American Samoa and sail to the Phoenix Islands. They’ll study the reef environment and open ocean between islands and help develop conservation and management strategies.
PIPA is one very few regions on Earth where scientists can study an intact ecosystem and its response to climate change. At SEA, we’re therefore extremely grateful to have the opportunity once again to work with the government of Kiribati and with our scientific partners to study this extremely isolated and important island nation, which can serve as a climate change benchmark on a global scale.
*Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Phoenix Islands Protected Area Conservation Trust, The Republic of Kiribati, Conservation International, Boston University, New England Aquarium, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Sea Education Association, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Prince Albert of Monaco II Foundation, EcoOceania.