Pristine Seas

Rapa Iti Expedition

Picture of Rapa Iti expedition team

Photograph by Manu San Felix

The southernmost islands of French Polynesia have long been a respite for nature from the reach of man, remote as they are in an already remote region. The people of Rapa have noted that protecting this area from fishing and other extraction will go a long way toward helping to reach the goal—set by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy—of protecting 20 percent of France’s waters around the world.

National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, together with PEW and CRIOBE (Centre de Recherche Insulaire et Observatoire de L’Environnement), helped in this effort by conducting an expedition to Rapa and nearby Marotiri to explore their waters and report back on the numbers of species and individuals present in the shallows, at the seafloor, and out in the open ocean, using divers as well as drop and drift cameras.

With new data and visuals in hand, people around the world are now able to know for themselves the beauty and value of this remote and barely touched region.

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