The Marshall Islands consists of 29 atolls and 5 individual islands totaling about 1,225 islands and 870 reef systems scattered over 750,000 square miles of the Central Pacific.
Marshall Islanders are known throughout the Pacific and the world for their friendly and peaceful nature. Sharing with family and friends, a warm welcome for the stranger, and caring consideration for others are values inherent to the Marshallese culture. The people have nurtured these values over the centuries. Cooperation and caring are necessary elements of survival on these small islands, surrounded by the sea.
Food in the Marshall Islands
Fish from the surrounding seas has naturally been the traditional support of life, while the scanty land has yielded three grudging crops - breadfruit, pandanus and swamp tare, in addition to the. ubiquitous coconut.
Politically, the Marshall Islands is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, with the US providing defense, funding grants, and providing access to social services. The country uses the United States Dollar as its currency.
In October 2011, the government declared that an area covering nearly 772,000 sq miles of ocean shall be reserved as a shark sanctuary. This is the world's largest shark sanctuary, extending the worldwide ocean area in which sharks are protected from 1,040,000 to 1,775,000 sq miles. In protected waters all shark fishing is banned and all by-catch must be released.