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The coastal and sea areas of the Mariana Islands are important to those who use these resources for subsistence, commercial, or recreational purposes. These areas are home to a vast array of marine plants and animals, including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, turtles, fish, and birds.


The ocean areas off the Mariana Islands are important to the Navy because of the established ranges where members of the armed forces learn and practice the skills required to respond to an emergency or threat. In addition, these areas are suitable and necessary for testing new and existing weapon systems in environments similar to where they will be used.


Protecting the marine environment of the Mariana Islands is an important goal for the Navy. In its commitment to the Pacific region and in compliance with existing laws, permits and authorizations, the Navy follows strict guidelines and employs measures to protect marine species and reduce potential effects while training and testing at sea.

The Navy is a world leader in marine species research. For years, the Navy has funded and partnered with universities, institutions and researchers around the world to increase the understanding of marine species physiology and behavior. This research helps environmental regulators, the scientific community and the Navy to:

  • Better understand marine species distribution and location of important habitat areas
  • Refine methods to detect and monitor marine species before and during training and testing activities
  • Add to the understanding of the effects of underwater sound on marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and birds
  • Develop improved tools to model and estimate potential effects of underwater sound
  • Develop new programs to safeguard marine protected species