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.

Read more about the Pacific Islands Regional Office.

What's Hot Now

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.

A public hearing will be held on December 7, 2017, 6:00 - 9 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural Center, Manoa Ballroom, 2454 S. Beretania St., 5th Floor.


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

Please submit public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal External Link Disclaimer by December 22, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. For more information, visit the chambered nautilus species page.


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:

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.

2016 Status of Stocks U.S. Fisheries Report, see here.
2015 Fisheries Economics of the U.S. Report, see here.
Press Release, see here.


Year of the Monk Seal 2017 emblem

2017 Year of the Monk Seal:
Population Increases Over the Last 3 Years

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!

For the latest updates on monk seals, see here.
For more information about monk seal populations, see
here.
For more information about monk seal research, see
here.

#YoMS2017


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What's New

Monk Seal of the Month

RJ58: Update on Kaimana, Hawai‘i’s Most Famous Monk Seal

This month we're updating you on O‘ahu’s celebrity monk seal — Kaimana (RJ58).

Fishing Permits and Forms

New Permit Applications Fees!

NOAA Fisheries revised the non-refundable application processing fees for several permits.



Upcoming Events

Public hearing for proposed rule to designate critical habitat for main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales

December 7, 2017, 6:00 - 9 p.m.
Japanese Cultural Center
Manoa Ballroom 2454 S. Beretania St., 5th Floor



Announcements

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.

Review the draft Priorities Document for FY 2018-2022. Submit comments to ole2017priorities@noaa.gov.

NOAA Fisheries Priorities and Annual Guidance for Fiscal Year 2017

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.

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