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Cultural Importance


Just as there are highly valued places of cultural and historical importance on land, there are similar places in the sea. Many cultures across the globe hold a strong sense of stewardship, pride and spiritual link to the sea. Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest and Polynesian cultures across the South Pacific share a sacred connection to the sea and its creatures, upon which they rely to fulfill their cultural and spiritual heritage. Humans and the ocean are inextricably linked as we rely on the sea for food, water and air for our survival. Additionally, we enjoy the beauty of the sea and utilize the ocean for transportation, resources and recreation. Many historical sites of shipwrecks, military battles, and harbors of famous pirates, provide insight to how our ocean has played an integral role in the change and development of cultures all around the world.


American Samoa
Georges Bank
Puget Sound
Channel Islands
Montery Bay
North Carolina Outer Banks
Midway Island



Cultural and Historic MPA Resources
Submerged Cultural Resources - NOAA
Marine Cultural and Historic Newsletter - NOAA
Human Dimentions Research Program - Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
Submerged Cultural Resources- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Ocean Literacy

Samoan Fisherman. Photo: NPS

Native American illustration of Killer Whale. Will appear on Washington State's new quarter.

Battle of Midway. Photo: US Archives