National Geographic : 2011 Jan
• A shy and elusive fish, a Napoleon wrasse (right) at Orona island is a good omen for the marine reserve. Sought after by restaurants in China, Napoleon wrasses are typically fished out early when reefs are targeted. A 20-pound wrasse might be worth a thousand dollars in China. The fact that these fish are so abundant here means that the reef system is still relatively intact. Even without counting the vast open-ocean and largely unexplored deep-sea regions in the reserve, it shelters more than 800 fish, bird, and coral species, including 120 species of hard corals, such as the leafy formation (below) at Enderbury Island. Because of this, the reserve may serve as a model to restore reef systems elsewhere. "The Phoenix Islands are what the oceans were like a thousand years ago," scientist Stone says, "and what they can be like a thousand years from now."