A new partnership has been formed between the governments of the United States and Kiribati to enhance the management and protection of two of the world's largest marine protected areas.
The agreement establishes a sister site relationship between the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Phoenix Islands near the equator in Kiribati.
The superintendent of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in the US, Aulani Wilhem, says the combined areas make up 25 percent of the world's marine protected areas.
She says the deal recognizes the cooperation and collaboration of the two countries and will strengthen their approaches to managing these remote areas.
"It's giving us a framework for us to manage on the ground here, the ability to within this framework of broad objectives, really identify specific projects and specific management efforts that can enhance the way that we protect these places."
Aulani Wilhem says the partners will meet in French Polynesia in November to identify their priorities and finalise the agreement.