When the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was established in 2006, it was the largest highly protected marine reserve in the world at 139,818 square miles (362,127 square kilometers). Creation of the monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands received bipartisan support in the United States and was followed by the designation of more than a dozen large-scale marine parks around the world, nine larger than this initial effort. As a result, nearly 2 percent of the world’s oceans are set aside with strong protections. Although this is important progress, scientists recommend protecting at least 30 percent.
In 2016, a group of native Hawaiians, with the help of Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy project, urged President Barack Obama to expand the monument by 442,760 square miles (1.15 million square kilometers). Obama did just that in August 2016, making Papahānaumokuākea the largest protected area in the world on land or sea. Enlarging the monument brought the world a step closer to reaching global conservation targets and locked in protection of important ecosystems and wildlife in the Pacific Ocean.
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On August 26, 2016, President Barack Obama set a new standard for global conservation by announcing the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to cover an additional 442,760 square miles (1.15 million square kilometers). Read More
HONOLULU—The Pew Charitable Trusts joins partners in Hawaii and the scientific community in praising today’s announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States has expanded the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, also known as Papahānaumokuākea, to 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers). Read More
The expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, is one of the largest conservation actions in history. The monument is now the largest protected area in the world—almost four times as large as California—measuring a total of 582,578 square miles. Read More
Where We Work
Global Ocean Legacy works with local communities, governments and scientists around the world to protect and conserve some of our most important and unspoiled ocean environments.