Marine National Monument Program

Marine National Monument Program

Marianas Trench Marine National Monument

Establishment: In January 2009, the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was established, by Presidential Proclamation, encompassing three units: the Islands, Trench, and Volcanic Units.

Size: The total Monument area consists of approximately 96,714 square miles (250,487 square kilometers) of submerged lands and waters of the Mariana Archipelago.

Management: The Monument is cooperatively managed by the Secretary of Commerce (NOAA) the Secretary of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) in cooperation with the Department of Defense and the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Click here to view the Proclamation.

Unique Features: The Marianas Trench is the "Grand Canyon" of the ocean (actually 120 times larger), including some of the deepest known areas on earth. The region is geologically very complex, including a subduction zone, back arc basins, and active simmering island and submarine volcanoes. The active volcanoes and thermal vents support life under some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Maug Crater represents one of only a few places on Earth where photosynthetic and chemosynthetic communities of life are known to coexist. The waters of the archipelago's northern islands are also among the most biologically diverse in the Western Pacific. The greatest diversity of seamount and hydrothermal vent life yet discovered was found in the Marianas Trench.

The waters of Farallon de Pajaros (also known as Uracas), Maug, and Asuncion support some of the largest biomass of reef fishes in the Mariana Archipelago. These volcanic islands are ringed by coral ecosystems with very high numbers of apex predators, including large numbers of sharks. They also contain one of the most diverse collections of stony corals in the Western Pacific. Monument designation provides international, national, and local recognition that the Marianas is a refuge for seabirds, sea turtles, unique coral reefs and a great diversity of seamount and hydrothermal vent life worth preservation.

For more information:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Marianas Trench Marine National Monument

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Government