Marine National Monument Program

Marine National Monument Program

The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

Establishment: Established in January, 2009 by Presidential Proclamation 8336 and expanded in 2014 by Presidential Proclamation 9173, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument consists of Wake, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll which lie to the south and west of Hawaii. The Pacific Remote Islands Monument is the largest marine protected area in the world and an important part of the most widespread collection of marine life on the planet under a single country's jurisdiction.

Size: The Monument area consists of approximately 308,000 square nautical miles (1,057,761 square kilometers) encompassing seven islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean.

Management: The Monument is cooperatively managed by the Secretary of Commerce (NOAA) the Secretary of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), with the exception of Wake Island and Johnston Atoll which are currently managed by the Department of Defense. National Wildlife Refuges also exist at each of the islands within the Monument.

Click here to view Proclamation 8336. (January 2009, pdf 9.56 MB)

Click here to view Proclamation 9173. (September 2014, pdf 419 kB)

Unique Features: This area sustains a diversity of species including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found anywhere else in the world. Many threatened, endangered, and depleted species thrive in the Pacific Remote Islands, including the green and hawksbill turtle, pearl oyster, giant clams, reef sharks, coconut crabs, groupers, humphead and Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, dolphins and whales. Both Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef support higher levels of coral diversity (180-190 species) than any other atoll or reef island in the central Pacific.

Wake Island, to the west of Hawaii, is the northernmost atoll in the Marshall Islands geological ridge and is perhaps the oldest living atoll in the world. Johnston Atoll is also an ancient atoll and probably one of the oldest in the Pacific Ocean.

The waters surrounding Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands have abundant fish biomass due to the Equatorial undercurrent that moves from west to east along the equator, creating localized, nutrient-rich upwelling in the shallows adjacent to the islands. The islands afford unique opportunities to conduct climate change research at the equator; far from population centers. The coral skeletons there have recorded the earth's climatic history for millennia. The Pacific Remote Islands contain some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world, and Monument status ensures these special areas are conserved.

For more information:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
http://www.fws.gov/pacificremoteislandsmarinemonument/

Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium
http://palmyraresearch.org/