US President Barack Obama has created the world’s largest marine reserve.
The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will now span 1.5million sq km, more than twice the size of Texas.
Obama made the announcement on Friday. The new reserve quadruples in size a monument originally created by President George W Bush in 2006.
The White House says the expansion is helping to protect more than 7,000 species and improves an ecosystem affected by ocean acidification and warming.
The largest sponge ever documented was reportedly found at a depth of 2.1 km in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Greenpeace also hailed what it called a “bold decision” that will ban commercial fishing and mineral extraction in the region.