By Thor Benson
American Samoans have an annual average income of only $8,000, and many are fishermen.
On June 17th, President Obama announced he would expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from 83,000 square miles to almost 755,000. That translates to a large portion of the ocean with islands controlled by the United States that cannot be fished. Many tuna fisherman are upset, because they believe this expansion will ruin their business, according to National Geographic.
Jack Kittinger, the director of Conservation International's Hawaii office, claims there is very little tuna fished in the area the president has proposed protecting. Conservationists and scientists want to see that area protected, because the islands and reefs in the area have a large range of unique species and untouched life. The White House has received over 135,000 letters from U.S. citizens commending the efforts to protect the environment. The executive director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Kitty Simonds, claims 16 percent of the fishing her associates do is located in the proposed area, and American Samoa has over 5,000 jobs in the tuna industry. The islands in the region are almost 1,000 miles from Hawaii.