In January 2009, President George W. Bush established by proclamation the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, made up of three sections: the Volcanic and Trench units, plus the Islands Unit, which consists of 16,405 square miles of highly protected waters and submerged land in the western Pacific Ocean. The monument is located in the Mariana Archipelago, about 1,400 miles south of Japan.
The waters are home to rare beaked whales, dolphins, and colorful deep-water fish. More than two dozen species of seabirds inhabit the area, along with several species of endangered or threatened sea turtles, a variety of marine mammals, and giant coconut crabs, the largest land-living arthropod. At more than 36,000 feet, the Marianas Trench is the deepest place on Earth.
In 2008, Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy project joined efforts by residents of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, to help safeguard the area, which then became the second major marine monument designated in the United States. Today, the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project continues to work with islanders to improve protections for this unique biological and geological hot spot.
Pew and the Bertarelli Foundation have joined forces in a new partnership with the goal of increasing the number of fully protected parks in the sea from nine to 15 by 2022.
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.