Skip to main content

About the Pacific Region

The Pacific Ocean is 165.25 million square kilometres in area. It covers about 46 per cent of the Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of the Earth's land area combined.

The Pacific is one of the most important shipping regions in the world. Countries bordering the Pacific make up approximately half the world’s population and more than half of the world’s economic activity. Sixteen of the world's top twenty countries for container port activity are in Asia, of which eight ports are in China.

Along the Pacific Ocean's western margins lie many seas, the largest of which are the Celebes Sea, Coral Sea, East China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Tasman Sea, and Yellow Sea. The Strait of Malacca joins the Pacific and the Indian Oceans on the west, and Drake Passage and the Strait of Magellan link the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean on the east. To the north, the Bering Strait connects the Pacific with the Arctic Ocean.

The following Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) are within the Pacific Ocean and have been recognised by the International Maritime Organization:

  • The Great Barrier Reef, Australia (1990) and extension of the existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait (2005)
  • Malpelo Island, Colombia (2002)
  • Paracas National Reserve, Peru (2003)
  • The Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador (2005)
  • Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, United States of America (2007)