The tiny island nation of Kiribati has banned commercial fishing in the Phoenix Island’s Protected Area starting January 1, 2015, according to Anote Tong, Kiribati’s President.  The coral reefs and surrounding area is considered one of the world’s most pristine archipelagos.

In comments during the announcement, Tong said the area has been overfished and that wildlife and fish need to recover.  Tong added that the southern Long Islands will also be closed to commercial fishing.

The announcement was made in Washington, D.C. at the “Our Ocean” conference hosted by the U.S. State Department.

Kiribati is a small island between Hawaii and Fiji in the South Pacific and controls vast areas of the Pacific.  The Phoenix Island Protected Area park is roughly the size of the state of California.

Explore Florida news here.