The first International Conference for Marine Mammal Protected Areas has highlighted challenges faced by countries to include all marine habitats in their ocean sanctuaries.
More than 150 delegates from 40 countries are attending the five day conference in Hawaii to address their common interests in protecting marine mammals.
Sue Miller-Taei from Conservation International says some of the challenges include linking the world's MPAs and ensuring all marine habitats are included.
"I think the Pacific Island countries are leaders in what we call locally managed marine areas. But that's just shallow waters, the Pacific Ocean is much bigger than that. And there is a real challenge to connect that kind of coastal MPA effort to include MPAs that are representative of all the habitats you find."
Sue Miller-Taei says Kiribati which has the world's largest Marine Protected Areas is taking the lead by being totally inclusive of all marine habitats.