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Citation Information

Type Book Section - Kiribati: Atolls and Marine Ecosystems
Title World Seas: an Environmental Evaluation
Edition 37
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2019
Publisher Elsevier
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780081008539000543
The Republic of Kiribati is largely composed of infertile, low-lying atolls, and coral islands in the central Pacific. Kiribati’s geographical isolation and remoteness makes it difficult to access regional and global economic markets, and it is considered as one of the least developed countries in the Pacific. However, Kiribati has one of the largest exclusive economic zones with globally important tuna stocks. Many of the uninhabited atolls in the Line and Phoenix Island group boast excellent examples of healthy coral reefs without anthropogenic stresses, and are home to globally significant populations of seabirds. Recent deep-sea research suggests high biodiversity in benthic habitats below 200 ft., with many species new to science. The limited flora of Kiribati is ecologically critical to wildlife on the atolls, as well as for the culture and survival of the i-Kiribati people. Although there are few published scientific studies, a review of technical reports suggests localized pollution, destructive fishing practices, overfishing, and poorly planned coastal infrastructure have all contributed to the decline of coastal resources. Regionally, Kiribati has made significant commitments toward the protection of marine resources in the Pacific Ocean, the largest of which is the declaration of the 405,755 km2 Phoenix Islands Protected Area and World Heritage Area. There is growing interest to expanding their terrestrial protected areas to include complementary marine protected areas in the Line Islands.

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