As one of the world’s most remote island chains, the Phoenix Islands — located within the Republic of Kiribati in the heart of the Pacific Ocean — comprise an island archipelago and ocean wilderness area of immense global value. One of Earth's last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems, Kiribati’s eight islands boast unique coral reefs and globally-important bird populations. In fact, more than 120 species of coral and 514 species of reef fish have been identified (including several new species) with unique assemblages reflecting the islands’ remoteness in the central Pacific. The coral-reef-based ecosystem, unlike most of the reefs in the world today, is healthy with an abundance of key marine species seldom encountered elsewhere.
With a number of emerging threats, however, isolation can no longer be relied upon to conserve these islands. Vulnerability to climate change — including sea level rise and ocean acidification and warming — and increasing global pressure on tuna resources put the existence of the Phoenix Islands and the well-being of Kiribati’s people in jeopardy.
Conservation International and partners are currently supporting implementation of the PIPA’s first management plan (2010-2014) and have helped establish a local PIPA team in Kiribati to lead this work. The plan follows a phased approach and focuses on the core operation and capacity building needed, as well as on key strategic issues such as island restoration, fisheries management and tourism development. In the first phase, full protection of 80% of the island’s priority lagoon, reef and offshore areas has been achieved, an area of more than 12,000 square kilometers. A new management plan for post-2014 closed PIPA to all commercial fishing as of January 1st 2015.
Phoenix Islands Protected Area
) is located in the Republic of
, an ocean nation in the central Pacific approximately midway between Australia and Hawaii. PIPA constitutes 11.34% of Kiribati’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and with a size of 408,250 km
(157,630 sq mi) it is the
marine protected area
(MPA) in the
In total it is equivalent to the size of the state of
in the USA, though the total land area is only 25 km
(9.7 sq mi).