National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Applauds Administration’s Support for Sanctuary Designation Around Pacific Remote Islands

Silver Spring, Md. – March 21, 2023 – Today, the Biden Administration directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider designating the waters surrounding the Pacific Remote Islands as a national marine sanctuary. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation released the following statement from Vice President of External Affairs Shannon Colbert:  

“The waters surrounding the Pacific Remote Islands contain a multitude of natural and cultural wonders across nearly 500,000 square miles of breathtaking beauty above and below the surface.  

“We are pleased the Biden Administration is listening to the Indigenous, Native Hawaiian, and local communities that are calling for protection of this special place as part of the National Marine Sanctuary System. Sanctuary designation would protect sites that are important to the preservation and prosperity of Indigenous cultures as well as habitat for threatened and endangered species including sharks, turtles, seabirds, whales, manta rays, and more. Some endemic species in these waters are found nowhere else on Earth. 

“National marine sanctuaries offer comprehensive ecosystem-based management centered on cultural, economic, and ecological goals and objectives. They conserve biodiversity, improve resilience to climate change, strengthen fisheries, and protect sacred cultural sites. They also reflect community input through an inclusive management process. In a national public opinion survey conducted last year, 82 percent of Americans said they favor protecting marine areas that have environmental, educational, or cultural significance. 

“The Foundation supports a sanctuary designation for the Pacific Remote Islands which will benefit the spectacular waters of the central Pacific and the communities that rely on them and bring the country closer to reaching its climate goals.” 


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications