In early 2009, President Bush established three marine national monuments around a number of US territorial islands and wildlife refuges in the Central Pacific Ocean. These isolated places harbor hundreds of marine species and contain some of the most pristine coral reefs on earth. A 121-foot fishing boat sank on Palmyra Atoll in 1991, and an 85-foot fishing vessel ran aground and sank on Kingman Reef in 2007, both of which are located within one of these monuments. The two shipwrecks are leaching iron into the water, which in turn stimulates the growth of a nuisance anemone-like organism that overgrows and kills corals. At least 740 acres of coral habitat have been destroyed so far and the devastation continues at a rapid pace.
The Department of the Interior’s US Fish and Wildlife Service, the manager of the national monument, has failed to remove these wrecks despite the extensive damage they are causing.
Scientists say failure to remove these fishing vessels threatens the health of the reefs, and consequently the organisms that depend on them for protection, reproduction, and feeding. Please urge Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar to remove the two shipwrecks immediately.
Sign our petition today to encourage removal of these shipwrecks! Please pass along to your friends too!