Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area site in Kiribati was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2010. The site encompasses one of the world's largest intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems, together with 14 known underwater seamounts and other deep-sea habitats. There are about 200 coral species, 500 fish species, 18 marine mammals, and 44 kinds of birds. The structure and functioning of the site's ecosystem illustrates its pristine nature and importance as a migration route and reservoir of organisms to surrounding exploited areas. Pictured here is a school of ornate butteryfly fish (Chaetodon ornatissimus), one of the many colorful fish protected within the boundaries of the site.

Today, over 40 World Heritage sites are listed for their marine values. Together, they can be considered the “Crown Jewels of our Ocean” and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological, or geological processes. Learn more about this and other marine World Heritage sites.


Cat Holloway