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Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Oceans 5 joins the Waitt Foundation in supporting the implementation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), the first large marine reserve created by a small island developing state.

The PIPA resides in the Republic of Kiribati, renown as the first country expected to lose its land territory to climate change. Kiribati’s approximately 100,000 residents live on 21 inhabited islands, with a total landmass of just 800 square kilometers. In total, 32 atolls and single raised coral island are spread across 3.5 million square kilometers of Pacific Ocean, home to some of the most pristine waters on the planet. The PIPA encompasses 400,000 square kilometers of Kiribati’s EEZ, an area almost the size of California, and includes eight islands, two underwater reefs and several seamounts, all of which will be fully protected by January 2015.

To operationalize the full closure of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, together with the Waitt Foundation, Oceans 5 is partnering directly with the Government of Kiribati and the PIPA Trust, which was created in 2009. Oceans 5 funds will support implementation of the fully protected area, including management, surveillance and enforcement.

Goat fish swim on a healthy reef (Photo by Keith Ellenbogen/Conservation International).

Goat fish swim on a healthy reef. Photo by Keith Ellenbogen/Conservation International.