Archived Project

Global Ocean Legacy - Marianas

In January 2009, U.S. President George W. Bush designated three areas in the Pacific Ocean as marine national monuments. At the time, this was the largest act of marine conservation in history.

The largest of these protected areas—spanning 95,000 square miles (246,000 square kilometers) —lies along the east side of  the Northern Mariana Islands, a string of 15 islands located 1,400 miles south of Japan. These islands comprise the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

The unspoiled waters surrounding these islands are home to sharks, whales, dolphins and colorful deep-water fish. More than two dozen species of seabirds inhabit the area, along with several species of endangered and threatened populations of sea turtles, a variety of marine mammals and giant coconut crabs, the largest land living arthropod.

Spectacular volcanic undersea vents, also known as “smokers,” support a wide variety of unique marine life, including some of the oldest organisms on Earth. Also found here is the Mariana Trench, the world’s deepest, in which Mount Everest could fit with a mile of water to spare.

Josh Reichert, managing director of Pew, discusses the significance of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

Our Work

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  • Global Ocean Legacy Map

    Global Ocean Legacy, a project of Pew and its partners, is working with local communities, governments and scientists around the world to protect and conserve some of our most important and unspoiled ocean environments. See where we are working in the map below. Read More

  • Protecting the Deep Sea

    Wellington, New Zealand, is an appropriate setting for this week's 13th International Deep Sea Biology Symposium. Just offshore from the capital city is the second-deepest underwater trench in the world, the Kermadec Trench. Situated east of the Kermadec island chain and extending more than 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) northwest toward Tonga, the area includes some of the most geologically... Read More

  • Filmmaker's 7-Mile Descent Highlights Extraordinary Ocean Monument

    History had been made – again – in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in our ocean, located in the western Pacific about 1,400 miles south of Japan. Renowned film director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron has entered the record books as the third person ever to descend the nearly seven miles to the bottom of the trench. This is a place so deep that if Mount Everest... Read More