The three new monuments, surrounding far-flung islands, reefs and atolls scattered across the Pacific, will add 195,000 square miles of protected waters to the nearly 140,000 square miles around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands that Bush protected in 2006 [Los Angeles Times]. The United States has authority over these waters because the tiny atolls and islands are U.S. territories.
The three areas are thronged with fish, sharks, coral reefs, and other forms of sea life, all of which will benefit from the new protections. Blue-water fish such as yellowfin, bigeye tuna, and marlin–all in decline–will be big winners because they breed in these waters. So will sharks, birds, turtles, and dolphins accidentally caught by the tuna long-line fleets [ScienceNOW Daily News].