Hokulea nears Ascension Island, UK announces plans to protect ar - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hokulea nears Ascension Island, UK announces plans to protect area's ocean ecosystem

Ascension Island (HawaiiNewsNow) -

On their way to Brazil the voyaging canoe Hokulea and her crew spotted the Ascension Island from Atlantic waters Monday.

This sighting comes two weeks after the UK Government announced its plans to establish a fully protected marine reserve, nearly the size of the United Kingdom, within its territorial waters surrounding Ascension Island.

“As we voyage around the world seeking malama honua stories of hope, it’s quite significant that Hokulea is sailing on these Atlantic waters off Ascension Island right after this milestone declaration by the UK Government,” said Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Just over half of the waters surrounding Ascension Island will become a fully protected marine reserve. One regulation under the new conservation effort is the prohibition of fishing in the entire area.

The preservation and restoration efforts of ecosystems worldwide by the Great British Oceans and the Polynesian Voyaging Society demonstrate the need for biodiversity.

“Simply, to protect life as we know it, that humankind enjoys, we have to protect the world’s oceans,” Thompson said.

The canoe’s next stop will be at Ilha Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, an archipelago where the crew will engage in cultural and educational exchange. Hokulea is expected to make landfall in South America at the coastal city of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, located in northeastern Brazil, in late January.

Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hokulea has sailed more than 20,000 nautical miles and made stops in 11 countries and 46 ports.

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