With a size of 408,250 km2 (157,626 sq. miles) it is one the largest marine protected areas in the world and the largest marine conservation effort of its kind by a Least Developed Country (LDC).
Kiribati first declared the creation of PIPA at the 2006 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Brazil. On January 30, 2008, Kiribati adopted formal regulations for PIPA that more than doubled the original size to make it at that time the largest marine protected area on Earth. In 2010 PIPA was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is the largest and deepest World Heritage site on Earth.
PIPA includes all eight atoll and low reef islands of the Kiribati section of the Phoenix Island group, Rawaki, Enderbury, Nikumaroro, McKean, Manra, Birnie, Kanton and Orona. PIPA also includes two submerged reefs, Carondelet Reef and Winslow Reef, with Carondelet Reef being as little as 3 to 4 meters underwater at low tide. It is estimated that there could be more than 30 seamounts within PIPA though to date only nine have been named. The greater part of PIPA by area is comprised of ocean floor with a water column averaging more than 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) deep with a maximum at 6,147 meters.