President Barack Obama will declare some 782,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration, and other human activities, The Washington Post reports.
Under the executive order, Obama will declare ocean areas 200 nautical miles offshore of seven U.S.-controlled Pacific islands and atolls as a protected national monument.
The plan would also provide protections for almost two dozen types of marine mammals, five threatened species of sea turtles, and several predatory fish species - including sharks.
Former President George W. Bush first declared the areas surrounding the Pacific Remote Islands a national monument.
But Obama's executive order will expand the amount of protected sea by nearly nine times the area designated by Bush, and remove an exemption provided by the former president that allowed commercial fisheries to continue operating in the area.
That's likely to draw the ire of tuna companies, which actively fish in the western and central Pacific.
The president's plan could also come under criticism from congressional Republicans, who have criticized his efforts to use executive power to bypass Congress. This will be the 12th time the president has used his office to designate national monuments, although the first time he does so for ocean areas.
For now, though, the president's move is drawing praise from conservation groups.
News: President Obama will expand protected area in Pacific Ocean & preserve marine wildlife habitat. http://t.co/T4Y9f3LGPU- Wilderness Society (@Wilderness) June 17, 2014