Papahānaumokuākea celebrates 15th anniversary

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File – More than 82,600 pounds of debris and trash were removed during a 16-day cleanup project that ended on Saturday, Nov. 14, at Lalo, an area within the Monument . COURTESY: U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Papahānaumokuākea celebrates its 15th anniversary.

It is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument was designated by President George Bush on June 15, 2006 as a marine conservation area.

The monument was given the Hawaiian name Papahānaumokuākea in 2007.

President Barack Obama expanded the size of the conservation area in 2016, and it is now 582,578 square miles.

Conservation work in the area started as early as 1903 when President Theodore Roosevelt sent in the U.S. Marines to stop the slaughter of seabirds for feathers and eggs at Midway Atoll.

Management of the monument is overseen by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services and Refuges Program, state of Hawai’i Divisions of Aquatic Resources and Forestry and Wildlife, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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