The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is a chain of islands and atolls in northwestern Hawai'i, dotted with coral reefs, lagoons, submarine valleys and mountains.

Papahana has a unique significance for the traditions and culture of native Hawai'ians, and is home to a mass of sea life and a staging post for migratory species.

Container ships, bulk carriers, tankers, freighters, and fishing vessels regularly transit the nearby waters and the PSSA protects the area by designating an Area To Be Avoided and imposing mandatory ship reporting on certain categories of vessel.