Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument that was previously known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument is the world’s biggest Marine Protected Area. The present, Hawaiian name, Papahanaumokuakea was considered by considered by state residents as it symbolized the native traditions associated with the origin of the Islands. In accordance to the legends, Papahanaumoku was the goddess who gave birth to the islands and Wakea was her husband.

This marine monument comprises of about 7,000 species, of which a quarter are widespread. Some the famous species in this monument are inclusive of the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal, the threatened Green Sea Turtle, the Laysan and Nihoa Finches, Laysan Duck, the Nihoa Millerbird, seabirds such as the Laysan Albatross. A range of plants species that would comprise Pritchardia palms, as well as several species of arthropods can be located in this monument.

The origin of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) as a protected area was initiated in the year 1909, subsequent to the formation of the Hawaiian Islands Reservation by President Theodore Roosevelt by means of the Executive Order 1019. This action was triggered in response to the over-harvesting of seabirds, as well as in acknowledgment of the islands' significance as seabird nesting sites. Later on, in the 1940, its standing was enhanced to the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A chain of incremental protections followed for the NWHI that lead to the foundation of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the year 1988, Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1993, and even the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve in the year 2000.

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