Kerama Islands becomes National Park

Kerama Islands has been a favorite destination of scuba divers for its clear waters and abundant sea life, and whale watchers who come to see humpback whales when they arrive on their annual migration every winter to the waters off the island to breed and nurse their young.

Today, a land area of 3,520 hectares between Tokashiki and Zamami villages, and 90,475 hectares of ocean area stretching seven kilometers offshore from each island becomes the nation’s 31st national park, the Kerama Islands National Park. In the designated ocean area there are large reef with living coral coloniess. It is also a breeding area of the humpback whales.

Keramas became the first area since 1987 to be designated as a national park by the national government.

A ceremony and celebration will be held in Naha City on Saturday, and on Sunday, there will be a memorial cruise to celebrate the new national park.

The Kerama Islands are located 32 kilometers (20 mi) southwest of Naha. They have about 2,000 residents living there.