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US creates world’s largest marine protected area

US President Barack delivers a prime time address from the Cross Hall of the White House on September 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Vowing to target the Islamic State with air strikes "wherever they exist", Obama pledged to lead a broad coalition to fight IS and work with "partner forces" on the ground in Syria and Iraq. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Washington: The White House announced on Friday US President Barack Obama decided to expand a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the largest marine protected area in the world.

After the expansion, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, originally established by former President George W. Bush in 2006 to preserve the marine area of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, will contain about 582,578 square miles and become the world’s largest marine protected area, Xinhua reported.

According to the White House, Obama will travel to the monument next week to mark the designation.

According to a document released by the White House, any new energy development activities and commercial fishing will be banned within the monument expansion, while Native Hawaiian cultural practices and research and scientific exploration will be allowed through a permit.

Non-commercial fishing will also be allowed through a permit.

It was the 26th national monument either created or expanded during Obama’s presidency.