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Pristine Seas: Southern Line Islands Set Bar for Healthy Reefs Everywhere

The waters around the southern Line Islands in the Pacific Ocean are home to some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world. The government of Kiribati recently declared a 12-nautical-mile fishing exclusion zone around each of the five islands, thanks in part to the efforts of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas initiative and Explorer-in-Residence Enric...

The waters around the southern Line Islands in the Pacific Ocean are home to some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world. The government of Kiribati recently declared a 12-nautical-mile fishing exclusion zone around each of the five islands, thanks in part to the efforts of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas initiative and Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, who led a research expedition there in 2009. “Diving at the southern Line Islands reveals what the seas once were, in all their richness and wonder,” says Sala. “Coming here has reset our entire understanding of what’s natural, and has given us a new baseline against which to measure healthy and unhealthy reefs everywhere.”

Click here to read more about the southern Line Islands online in National Geographic magazine.

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Meet the Author

David Max Braun
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn