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The Pacific Islands Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Pacific Islands Regional Office manages programs that support both domestic and international conservation and management of living marine resources within the Pacific. The Pacific Islands Region is comprised of American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. Pacific islands.
What's Hot Now
Progress Update for the Fisheries Implementation Plan
NOAA Fisheries announces the progress update for our recreational fisheries work through 2018. Nearly 9 million U.S. saltwater anglers took an estimated 61 million fishing trips resulting in 439,000 jobs, $63 billion in sales and a $36 billion contribution to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. NOAA Fisheries have completed or made substantial progress on more than 80 percent of the plan’s projects focusing on supporting accessible and sustainable recreational fisheries
Progress Update Highlights:
- Distributing thousands of fish descending devices to anglers.
- Issuing final guidance on periodic evaluations of fishery quota allocations.
- Providing funding to partners in Maryland to remove the Bloede Dam.
- Conducting surveys to estimate expenditures and economic impacts associated with saltwater recreational fishing trips.
- Hosting release mortality symposia at the 2016 American Fisheries Society meeting and the 2017 World Recreational Fisheries Conference.
- Hosting nine regional recreational fisheries-focused dialogues in 2017.
Leatherback Sea Turtle Warrants Status Review – NOAA Seeking Additional Information
NOAA Fisheries found that a petition to identify the Northwest Atlantic subpopulation of the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) as a distinct population segment and list it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act presents sufficient evidence to warrant further consideration. We are initiating a status review of the leatherback sea turtle to determine whether the petitioned action is warranted and to examine the status of the species globally.
To submit scientific and commercial information pertaining to the leatherback sea turtle, visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
Comments and information are due by February 5, 2018. For more information, visit the leatherback sea turtle page.
Proposed rule to designate critical habitat for main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales
On November 3, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule (82 FR 51186) to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales (MHI IFKWs) in waters from 45 meters to 3,200 meters (49 to 3,500 yards) in depth surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands (from Ni‘ihau to Hawai‘i Island). This designation would not include most bays, harbors, or coastal in-water structures. Within this larger proposed area, NOAA Fisheries is proposing to exclude nine areas from the designation due to economic and national security impacts. In addition, two areas are ineligible for designation because they are managed under the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam INRMP that was found to benefit MHI IFKWs. The total area proposed includes approximately 49,701 km² (19,184 mi²) of marine habitat. For more information, visit the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale page.
Please submit public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal by January 2, 2018.
Fisheries of the United States for 2016 Released
NOAA Fisheries announces the release of the Fisheries of the United States 2016 report. It reflects the importance of healthy and sustainable fisheries that support societal, economic, and ecological resilience. In 2015, U.S. marine and freshwater aquaculture production was valued at $1.4 billion, equal to about 21 percent of the value of the nation’s seafood production (wild and farmed combined). Check out the highlights of the six highest value U.S.species groups infographic.
For more information about the fisheries statistics for the U.S., see the Fisheries of the United States 2016 report.
New Permit Application Fees!
NOAA Fisheries revised the non-refundable application processing fees for several permits. The following fee changes are effective now.
- American Samoa longline limited entry permit application - $67
- Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit application - $47
- Northern Mariana Islands bottomfish permit application - $48
Previously revised fees are still effective.
- Hawaii longline limited entry paper permit application - $52
- Hawaii longline limited entry online permit renewal - $31
- WCPFC area endorsement application - $54
For more information about permits and applications forms, please visit the Fishing Permits page.
NOAA Fisheries proposes to list the chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act – Open for Public Comment
The Marine Recreational Information Program releases the Framework for Addressing National Academies Recommendations and Strategic Plan
NOAA Fisheries released two documents today: the Framework for Addressing the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Recommendations following its review of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) and the final version of the five-year MRIP Strategic Plan. The MRIP Strategic Plan emphasizes collaboration with partners, meeting customer needs, ensuring sound science and quality products, and improving communications with stakeholders, including recreational anglers.
The Framework and the Strategic Plan can be found at the MRIP website, www.countmyfish.noaa.gov.
NOAA Awards ~$3 Million in Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistant Grants
NOAA Fisheries announces almost $3 million of grants given through the 2017 Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grants program awarding 33 grants in 13 states totaling nearly $3M under FY 2017 funding. Ultimately, Prescott Grants support a core mission of NOAA – the conservation and recovery of protected marine species. Recipients will use their award funds to respond to marine mammal strandings, improve capacity for response and rescue, and conduct scientific investigations into the cause(s) of stranding events.
In the Pacific Islands, the Marine Mammal Center and University of Hawai‘i each received grants for their work in monk seal rehabilitation and cetacean (whales and dolphins) mortality research, respectively.
$2.3 million in grants to 18 projects under the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program
NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to 18 projects under our 2017 Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. The program's priority is to reduce bycatch, a key component in the ongoing effort to end overfishing in the United States. The grants support key partners in the research and development of innovative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality in our nation’s fisheries. Check out the 2017 awarded projects!
NOAA Fisheries completes consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project
On August 21, 2017, NOAA Fisheries issued letters on the Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in response to their requests for consultation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The letters represent the cooperative work between the USFWS and NOAA Fisheries to evaluate the effects of the Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project on federally threatened and endangered marine species and their designated critical habitat, and essential fish habitat, which are those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. The Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project will be implemented by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the co-lead on the Service’s Final Environmental Assessment, in partnership with the Lehua Island Restoration Steering Committee.
The letters that NOAA Fisheries provided to the USFWS represent the culmination and conclusion of the ESA and EFH consultations on the Lehua Island Project. NOAA Fisheries ESA letter concurred with the USFWS’ evaluation that the proposed Lehua Island Project may affect, but not likely result in adverse effects to federally threatened green sea turtles, endangered hawksbill sea turtles, endangered Main Hawaiian false killer whales, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals and their designated critical habitat. NOAA Fisheries EFH letter provided the USFW conservation recommendations to minimize the effects of the Lehua Island Project on EFH.
For more information on the consultation requirements of ESA and EFH see:
- NOAA Fisheries Consulting with Federal Agencies (ESA Section 7) page
- NOAA Habitat's Consultations to Protect Essential Fish Habitat page
For more information on the Lehua Island Project, see copies of the NOAA Fisheries letters:
NOAA awards $5.8 million in grants to support endangered, threatened species recovery
NOAA announces $5.8 million in funding for six new projects and the continuation of 22 multi-year projects under the 2017 Species Recovery Grant Program. Proposals are now being accepted under the FY2018 Species Recovery Grants to Tribes and Species Recovery Grants to States programs. Funding opportunities count towards recovering species and tracks with our mission of preserving our marine resources for future generations.
Application period for 2018 grants now open! Apply now at www.grants.gov.
Applications must be received by November 1, 2017.
NOAA Fisheries determines that the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act
In response to a petition and after conducting a comprehensive status review of the species, we have determined that the Pacific bluefin tuna does not warrant listing as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act at this time.
For more information, visit our Pacific bluefin tuna page.
NOAA Fisheries publishes an interim rule with requirements for longline vessels operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO)
Effective August 4, 2017, this interim rule modifies the bigeye tuna catch limit for U.S. longline vessels in the WCPO to 3,138 metric tons for calendar year 2017, accounting for a catch overage in 2016. NOAA Fisheries will consider public comments on this interim rule and issue a final rule, responding to comments as appropriate. Comments on the interim rule must be submitted by September 5, 2017. The interim rule, including instructions for submitting public comments, can be found at Regulations.gov.
NOAA Fisheries Releases the Annual Status of Stocks U.S. Fisheries Report and Fisheries Economics of the U.S. Report.
Each report highlights the progress the nation has made in ending overfishing, rebuilding historically overfished stocks, and helping our fishermen, fish farmers, and fishing communities. The Fisheries Economics of the U.S. report continues to be a positive indicator of the value of U.S. fisheries to the economy with commercial and recreational fishing generating $200 billion in sales, contributing $97 billion to the gross domestic product, and supporting 1.6 million full- and part-time jobs. For more information on both reports and other supporting materials, see here.
2017 Year of the Monk Seal:
NOAA Fisheries announces the population increase of Hawaiian monk seals! In recognition of a decade of conservation efforts and as part of our Species in the Spotlight initiative, we celebrate this good news and renew our dedication to work ahead with the Year of the Monk Seal!
Population Increases Over the Last 3 Years
Hawaiian Monk Seal Update
Hawaiian Monk Seal Update
Monk Seal of the Month
This month we invite you to learn about the "poster seal" of monk seal threats — RK30.
Fishing Permits and Forms
NOAA Fisheries revised the non-refundable application processing fees for several permits.
Longline Permit Renewal
Hawaii Longline Limited Entry Permits, Western Pacific General Longline Permits, and Receiving Vessel Permits expire on March 3, 2018. You must renew your permit if you intend to continue fishing in 2018. View longline permit renewal flyer.
NOAA Fisheries announces a prohibition on fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs) by U.S. purse seine vessels in the western and central Pacific Ocean
Read more about the FAD set limit prohibition.
NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement is releasing their draft priorities document for public comment.
Seeking public comment on these priorities to obtain input from diverse interest groups, promote transparency and set expectations for future enforcement activities.
This document features Fisheries' goals, priorities, and anticipated results for next year.
Species in the Spotlight: Hawaiian Monk Seal
Get the latest news on monk seals, here.