Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News reports on the establishment of a new ecosystem reserve in the Pacific. President Bush decided to create the reserve after a continued interest in the area and a little persuasion from the KQED documentary series, Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense in New York, remarks that this establishment is "as important as the establishment of Yellowstone."
President Bush established the largest protected ocean area in the world today, creating a national monument over a vast, biologically rich chain of coral reefs and islands from north of Hawaii to Midway Atoll.
In the monument -- an aquatic Eden of tropical fish, sea turtles, monk seals and more than 7,000 other marine species -- commercial fishing will be phased out over the next five years, administration officials said, speaking anonymously prior to the announcement.
The area, known now as Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, is more than 1,200 miles long -- longer than the coast of California -- and encompasses roughly 135,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean, an area larger than all of America's national parks combined.
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