The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, state and territorial governments, and others to cooperatively manage four marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Atlantic.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
The first and only mixed (natural and cultural) World Heritage site in the United States, it includes two national wildlife refuges, plus the Battle of Midway National Memorial and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. The monument is home to more than 7,000 species, including many threatened or endangered birds, plants, seals and sea turtles. Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge hosts the world’s largest albatross colony. The other wildlife refuge in the national monument is Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Mariana Trench Marine National Monument
The crescent-shaped Mariana Trench is the “Grand Canyon” of the ocean (actually, the Trench is much larger!) and includes some of the deepest known areas on Earth. The Mariana Trench is recognized by the international scientific community as the oldest place geologically on the ocean floor. Due to its inaccessibility, the region is virtually unexplored. Much remains to be learned about its ecological and biological characteristics.
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
It includes seven far-flung national wildlife refuges. They are among the most isolated and pristine ecosystems under U.S. jurisdiction. The monument protects millions of seabirds, endemic plants and animals, shallow- and deep-water coral reefs and more. For example, one wildlife refuge in the monument, Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, supports more kinds of coral and cnidarians (jellyfish, sea anemones and related aquatic animals — 180 to 190 species) than any other atoll or reef island in the central Pacific — twice as many as are found in Hawaii or Florida.
Rose Atoll Marine National Monument
In American Samoa, Rose Atoll is the southernmost point under U.S. jurisdiction. The monument protects 12 seabird species, 140 coral species, 270 fish species and important green sea turtle nesting habitat. Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is one of two national wildlife refuges south of the equator. The other is Jarvis Island, a part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
The monument includes two units in the Atlantic Ocean waters southeast of Cape Cod. The Seamounts Unit has four undersea mountains, and the Canyons Unit has three undersea canyons. Both include the waters and submerged lands within their boundaries. The monument is renowned for its biodiversity, including deep-sea coral communities and concentrations of marine wildlife. Its geographic features create ocean conditions that concentrate pelagic or ocean-dwelling animals. Species that frequent the monument include whales, dolphins, seabirds and turtles, as well as fish that migrate long distances, such as tuna, billfish, swordfish and sharks.