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Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World Set to Expand

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Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World is Set to Expand by 2030 in The Islands of Tahiti

This expansion celebrates 20 years of wildlife protection and industrial fishing bans
in this region of the South Pacific

Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World Set to Expand

For more than 20 years, French Polynesia, also known as The Islands of Tahiti, has quietly served as the home to the largest marine sanctuary in the world and it is set to expand to reach 350,000 square miles by 2030. 

The Islands of Tahiti are composed of more than 118 islands in total stretching across five archipelagos, only an eight hour, nonstop flight from the West Coast of the United States. These islands have long stood as an unassuming haven for dozens of threatened species of cetaceans, sharks, sea turtles and more. The expanded territory will also have a goal of specifically protecting corals, a critical species which provides more than half of the oxygen on the planet. 

French Polynesia has forbidden any technique other than line fishing, and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is reserved for the Polynesian fishing fleet. No fishing license has been or can be sold outside of French Polynesia, and industrial fishing is strictly banned. 

Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World Set to Expand

Rahui, the Tahitian ancestral practice which imposes temporary bans on the harvesting or fishing of certain marine or terrestrial species to ensure their preservation and renewal, is still practiced today. The announcement of the marine sanctuary expansion – named Rahui Nui (Nui meaning “big or great” in Tahitian) – honors the spirit of this ancient practice.

“Tahitians have reached their homelands in canoes, using sensorial navigation techniques,” said Matahi Tutuvae, storyteller and cultural expert. “Observing the natural cycles and being attuned to them was a matter of survival. Building up on that knowledge through generations, allowed for a deeper connection to places, in our sea of islands. Polynesians do not have a native word to translate ‘environment or nature,’ because it isn't a concept separated from man. Today we honor our ancestors and also the communities who continue to build upon this Mana through their work, to ensure that our islands and people continue to thrive.”

This tradition of strong environmental and cultural protection has made The Islands of Tahiti one of the most sought after destinations for sustainable travel and slow tourism. 

Visit TahitiTourisme.com to browse https://tahititourisme.com/en-us/vacation-packages/vacation packages and find a Tahiti Certified Specialist to plan your ecotourism trip to The Islands of Tahiti

Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World Set to Expand

Key Dates:

  • 1996 – Ban on any fishing technique other than line fishing, and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is reserved for the Polynesian fishing fleet. No fishing license has been sold outside French Polynesia, and industrial fishing is strictly banned.
  • 2002 – Establishment of the marine mammal sanctuary protecting whales and dolphins.
  • 2012 – Establishment of the largest shark sanctuary in the world in French Polynesia at 4 4.7 million square kilometer
  • 2021 – Capacity limits on cruise ships to those of less than 700 passengers to protect sensitive marine environments and the visitor experience.

Sustainability and Inclusive Brochure: https://fr.calameo.com/read/0034615037861025bb3d0 

Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World Set to Expand

About The Islands of Tahiti

Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture, and unique French Polynesian style. Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California, on the same side of the International Date Line as North America, and are in the same time zone as Hawaii.

The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for their white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Each island offers a variety of accommodation experiences from luxurious resorts with overwater villas, to family guesthouses, to sailing via private charter or scheduled cruise. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti, one of the few untouched sanctuaries left in the world where visitors can relax, reconnect, and experience Mana, the life force and spirit that flows through everything. Whether you come for adventure, romance, or relaxation, you will discover that the spirit of Mana that flows through our land, sea, culture, and people will make you Feel Treasured.

Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.

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