U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii is now home to the largest protected area on Earth

Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is now the largest protected area on the planet, thanks to an order signed today by U.S. President Barack Obama, The Washington Post reports. The park, one of the most biologically diverse places in the world, will more than quadruple in size to 1.5 million square kilometers. (That’s twice the size of Texas.) Resources can still be removed for Hawaiian traditions or scientific research with a permit, but commercial resource extraction—including most fishing—is now prohibited. Hawaiian state officials say Obama’s move will preserve a cultural seascape and provide critical protection for more than 7000 marine species.

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