Marine Conservation Biology Institute Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Marine Conservation Biology Institute

President Bush Protects Vast Areas in the Pacific Ocean                                

Palmyra Reef

A school of convict surgeonfish on a reef off of Palmyra.
Image: KD Lafferty/USGS


A radar station
Dr. Elliott Norse, President of MCBI, at the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush shortly after the creation of the new marine national monuments.

President Bush designated three ecologically significant areas encompassing 195,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean as Marine National Monuments under the Antiquities Act on January 6th, 2009.   These three sites are named Marianas Marine National Monument, Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, and Rose Atoll National Monument.   

Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have worked together for nearly two years to encourage the Bush Administration to protect two of the three areas, Rose Atoll and Pacific Remote Islands, from continued threats to ocean life.    

The Pacific Remote Islands National Monument includes seven remote island possessions and territories and surrounding waters in the Central Pacific –Wake Island, Johnston Island, Palmyra Island, Kingman Reef, Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Island.  These areas include some of the most pristine tropical islands and coral reef ecosystems in the world.  The other area originally proposed by MCBI and EDF is Rose Atoll which is the world’s smallest atoll and part of the Territory of American Samoa. 

These islands contain nearly four times as many shallow water reef building coral species as the entire Florida Keys, hundreds of fish species, and dozens of species of seabirds. Migrating fish, turtles, birds and marine mammals frequent the islands, including endangered and threatened green and hawksbill sea turtles, whales, and large migratory fish.  Some of these islands are also important to Polynesian and Micronesian, military and aviation history. 

For more details and media contacts, please see our press release.


Learn More About the Central Pacific Islands:





From the White House:


Establishing Marine National Monuments:



For Additional Information :




Fact Sheets:

Central Pacific Islands

Baker Island

Howland Island

Jarvis Island

Johnston Island

Kingman Reef

Palmyra Atoll

Rose Atoll

Wake Island