The marine life found throughout the Insular Pacific Islands have shaped the way of life for this region for thousands of years.
For most people, the Pacific Islands conjure up visions of palm trees, beautiful beaches and a variety of ocean activities. But there is another world beneath the waves where amazing creatures swim through tropical waters that range from abysmal deeps to shallow, stunning coral reefs. The Pacific Islands Region comprises three special areas that protect ocean denizens and ecosystems, as well as our unique island cultural and maritime heritage. Take an electronic journey to each of these sites by clicking on their names below. Discover our Maritime Heritage Program and explore our island cultural heritage (PDF) too!
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is the largest protected area in the United States, stretching the length of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Co-managed with the State of Hawai'i and the Department of the Interior, the monument preserves one of the most untouched areas of coral reef in the world.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary ranges from north to south through the main Hawaiian Islands, with areas off six of the main eight islands. Protecting endangered humpback whales and their habitat, the site engages in education, research and rescue to meet their mission goals.
National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa is the only site located below the equator and in a U.S. Territory. Along with co-managers in the American Samoa Government, the site protects pristine coral reef.
As you explore each of these websites, you will begin to understand that challenges the Pacific Islands Regional Office meets to help coordinate and assist the sites with their responsibilities. Dispersed across the huge Pacific Ocean, these sites are each unique treasures that the regional office will continue to support and coordinate.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback WhaleInformation Sheet Download
American SamoaInformation Sheet Download
PapahānaumokuākeaInformation Sheet Download