The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is the single largest conservation area under the U.S. flag, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It encompasses 139,797 square miles of the Pacific Ocean (105,564 square nautical miles) - an area larger than all the country's national parks combined.
The extensive coral reefs found in Papahānaumokuākea - truly the rainforests of the sea - are home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Many of the islands and shallow water environments are important habitats for rare species such as the threatened green sea turtle and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
Papahānaumokuākea is also of great cultural importance to Native Hawaiians with significant cultural sites found on the islands of Nihoa and Mokumanamana.
The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was created by Presidential proclamation on June 15, 2006.
An excellent introduction to the Monument and general overview of the region is contained within our Citizen's Guide, click here to download a copy. (PDF)
As for our new name, it is more than just a Hawaiian word to add flavor to the name of the Monument. Papahānaumokuākea has great significance and meaning. In addition, the process of how the name was chosen is equally as important. For more information and audio files to help understand and pronounce the name, click here.