noaa.gov

Where is the largest protected area in the National Marine Sanctuary system?

The largest marine sanctuary is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument— larger than all of America’s national parks combined!

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is not only the largest conservation area in the U.S., it's one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It's larger than all of America’s national parks combined! This vast region preserves many of Hawaii’s Northwestern Islands and is made up of 139,797 square miles of reefs, atolls, shallow waters, and deep seas.

The monument contains a wide variety of critically important habitats that harbor over 7,000 marine species, several of which are only found in this region. It is also home to many rare and endangered species such as the green sea turtle and the Hawaiian monk seal.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is one of fourteen marine protected areas that form NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary system. The goal of this system is to conserve, protect, and enhance the biodiversity, ecological integrity, and cultural legacy of marine areas totaling 150,000 square miles.