Tomorrow, an exhibit will open at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii. This exhibit will display fish and corals from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument – the largest protected area in the United States, and a site rarely seen by anyone! Papahānaumokuākea is a Hawaiian name for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a series of remote islands which are too small to live on, and thus have remained some of the world’s most pristine coral atolls and reefs. The name comes from the earth-mother Papahānaumoku and sky-father Wākea, figures of Hawaiian mythology, who gave birth to the Hawaiian people and the Hawaiian islands. The combination of these names, and the use of this name for a national marine monument, serves as a reminder of man’s connection with nature, and how we must respect and care for our environment. For more information on Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, including help pronouncing the name, click here!
Marine Conservation Institute helped advocate for the designation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument – designated in 2006 through the Antiquities Act by then-president George W. Bush – and still advocates for its preservation. The establishment of this permanent exhibit, which will occupy about 10% of the museum’s space, will let visitors see over 30 species of fish, and 20 varieties of coral. The list of fish and corals includes species which are native to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and thus are not normally seen by the general public. This exhibit will help illustrate the importance of marine conservation, and why we need to ensure that Papahānaumokuākea stays on the conservation radar screen!
Click here to read a great article on the exhibit from the Washington Post!