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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
NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule (78 FR 30773) to establish fishing restrictions and observer requirements for purse seine fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean for 2013-2014. This final rule becomes effective June 24, 2013. A copy of the Compliance Guide for this final rule is available here.
NOAA Fisheries renews efforts to stop sharks attacking monk seal pups at French Frigate Shoals in their current permit request
Between 1997-2010, Galapagos sharks have killed or maimed at least 217 of the 925 monk seal pups born at French Frigate Shoals (FFS) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). These shark attacks have become such a serious threat to endangered Hawaiian monk seal recovery that NOAA Fisheries has included plans to take specific seal protection actions at FFS in their current permit request. The seal pups born at Trig and "the Gins" islets at FFS, most just a few weeks old, are being taken by Galapagos sharks in just a few inches of water, despite the protective efforts of the pups' mothers and non-lethal intervention methods by NOAA Fisheries. This shark predation behavior has been observed nowhere else on earth and is thought by scientists to be caused by a small group of "atypical" Galapagos sharks that are exclusively inhabiting the waters around FFS. As part of comprehensive Hawaiian monk seal recovery efforts undertaken each summer in the NWHI, NOAA Fisheries intends to selectively and humanely remove the sharks that are killing the seal pups at FFS. Reducing these atypical shark attacks, will help the pups stay alive until they are weaned and can be safely relocated by NOAA personnel to waters away from the Galapagos shark attack areas. Galapagos sharks are abundant in the NWHI and throughout the world's oceans, and scientists are confident that removing the few (up to 18) sharks at FFS would have no significant adverse ecological or biological effects.
NOAA welcomes input from all members of the community as we are aware of the sensitive nature of these actions. We have engaged with members of the public, including conservation and cultural groups, and will continue to do so to address concerns brought forward. Please learn more about Hawaiian monk seals, recovery actions and research at:
Pacific Islands Region Observes 10 Year Milestone!
To find out more about our 10 year anniversary, please click here.
NOAA Fisheries announces publication of the proposed List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2013 (78 FR 23708) as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The proposed rule classifies all U.S. commercial fisheries into one of three categories based upon the level of serious injury and mortality of marine mammals that occurs incidental to each fishery. The classification of a fishery in the LOF determines whether participants in that fishery are subject to certain provisions of the MMPA, such as registration, observer coverage, and take reduction plan requirements.
Comments must be received by May 22, 2013. Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Mail: Submit written comments to Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Attn: List of Fisheries, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Please see the Office of Protected Resources' LOF page for more information here.
NOAA Fisheries announces a 90-day Finding (78 FR 24701) on Petitions to List the Great Hammerhead Shark. In response to two petitions to list the great hammerhead shark as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NOAA Fisheries found the action may be warranted. Accordingly, a review of the status of this species will be conducted to determine if listing is warranted.
Comments must be received by June 25, 2013. Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Mail: Submit written comments to Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Fax: 301-713-4060, Attn: Maggie Miller.
Please see the Protected Resources Division's ESA Section 4 page for more information here.
NOAA Fisheries announces a proposed rule (78 FR 20718) to list four of six identified distinct population segments (DPS) of scalloped hammerhead sharks. In the Pacific Islands Region, the Indo-West Pacific DPS (which includes the U.S. Pacific territories and the Pacific Remote Island Areas) is proposed as Threatened. The Central Pacific DPS (which includes the Hawaiian archipelago and Johnston Atoll) is Not Warranted for listing.
Comments must be received by June 4, 2013. Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Mail: Submit written comments to Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Fax: 301-713-4060, Attn: Maggie Miller.
Please see the Protected Resources Division's scalloped hammerhead shark page for more information here.
NOAA Fisheries Applies for Permit to Conduct Important Recovery Actions for Hawaiian Monk Seals (Postpones plans to temporarily move young seals to the main Hawaiian Islands). As required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) NOAA Fisheries has applied for a new permit requesting authorization to conduct several key recovery actions for critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals. The permit would span a five-year period, starting as early as January 2014. Read more...
NOAA Fisheries publishes the final rule (78 FR 15885) specifying the 2013 annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measures (AM) for western Pacific bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral and coral reef ecosystem fisheries. The ACLs are identical to those that NOAA Fisheries specified in 2012, except for the bottomfish fisheries which have slightly higher limits this year. ACLs and AMs support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources in the U.S. Pacific Islands. View the current list of ACLs for the Pacific Islands Region here.
Marianas Trench Marine National Monument
and Marianas Archipelago Ecosystem Science Implementation Workshop
May 21-22, 2013 from 8:00am-5:00pm
Please see the Marine National Monument Program's page for more information here.
False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team Meeting
May 29-31, 2013 from 8:30am-5:00pm
NOAA Fisheries Honolulu Service Center, Pier 38, Honolulu Harbor
Please see the Protected Resources Division's False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team page for more information here.
North Shore Ocean Fest
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Turtle Bay Resort, HI
Learn more about the work NOAA Fisheries does to promote healthy marine ecosystems.