The small nation of Palau is the size of New York City, but its marine reserve is the size of California. Palau’s most famous tourist attraction is a lake filled with jellyfish on Eil Malk island. Snorkeling among the jellies is generally considered safe because their stings are too weak to be felt by most people.
Tiny Island Nation's Enormous New Ocean Reserve is Official
The nation of Palau in the western Pacific just protected 80 percent of its ocean.
An island nation in the Pacific Ocean that's smaller than New York City has created an ocean reserve that's bigger than California.
The president of Palau signed legislation Wednesday designating a reserve that's about 193,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers) in size. This makes it one of the five largest fully protected marine areas in the world. (Read about Chile's newest marine reserve.)
President Tommy Remengesau Jr. signed the designation and retweeted accounts of the ceremony and notes of congratulations.
Palau's Congress had recently signed off on keeping 80 percent of its territorial waters from any extractive activities, including fishing and mining. The remaining 20 percent would remain open to fishing by locals and a limited number of small commercial operations.