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President Anote Tong of Kiribati
Spectacular table corals that
take decades to form are found
throughout the shallow water
coral reefs of the Phoenix Islands.

President Anote Tong of Kiribati will speak at Harvard & the United Nations and receive an award from Aquarium.

One of the great gifts to the world in 2008 was the preservation of a massive oceanic ecosystem in the central Pacific that surrounds some of the most pristine coral reefs on the planet. Doubled in size this past winter, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area is now the world’s largest ocean reserve and covers an area nearly as large as California.

Such leadership and generosity were not exercised by a global superpower or an affluent developed country but by the tiny Pacific island nation of Kiribati (pronounced Keer -a- boss). With less than 100,000 people and with most of their land less than six meters above sea level, Kiribati is likely to have the world’s first global climate change refugees. Kiribati is located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

This oceanic international park was nearly a decade in the making in partnership with the New England Aquarium of Boston. Dr. Greg Stone first suggested the idea of a marine protected area to the Kiribati government in the late 1990’s and has helped guide the development of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) since 2000. Kiribati and the Aquarium developed PIPA over several years of joint scientific research with funding and technical assistance from Conservation International.

IMAGES

B roll of Phoenix Islands marine life available at press conference.
Additional still images are available at the Phoenix Islands website.

CONTACT

Tony LaCasse, 617-877-6871 or tlacasse@neaq.org