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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 conservationand 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
Fishing Limits for Western and Central Pacific Ocean Purse Seine Fisheries for 2017
NOAA Fisheries publishes a proposed rule establishing a limit of 1,828 fishing days for 2017 on fishing effort by U.S. purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone and on the high seas in the western and central Pacific Ocean. Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted by October 5, 2017.
For more information about the purse seine fishing effort limits, to view the proposed rule and supporting documents, please visit www.regulations.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.
NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce the 2018 Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Grant competition is open for applications.
The goal of the SK program is to fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities, optimize economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable. The FY18 solicitation seeks applications that fall into one of four priorities:
- Marine Aquaculture
- Adapting to Environmental Changes and Other Long Term Impacts in Marine Ecosystem
- Promotion, Development, and Marketing
- Territorial Science
$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
Monk Seal of the Month
As a young adult, he began aggressively harassing and/or injuring pups and was brought into permanent captivity in 2012 to help improve the survival of the immature seals. Read KE18's story.
2017 Global Tourism Summit
September 19 - 21
HI Convention Center, Honolulu
For more information, vist the Global Tourism Summit website.
STEM Exploration Day
Thursday, September 21
8:30am - 12:30pm
Moanalua High School, Honolulu
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer/RV Falkor
Ship Tours and Outreach Booths Sunday, October 1, 9am - 4pm
Pier 35, Honolulu
Tuesday, October 10
10am - 2pm
University of HI at Manoa, Honolulu
For more information, vist the University of Hawai‘i Career Center web page.
SOEST Open House
Friday, October 20, 8:30am - 2pm
Saturday, October 21, 10am - 2pm
University of HI at Manoa, Honolulu
For more information, vist the 2017 SOEST Open House web page.
WCPFC PAC Meeting
October 24 and 25
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Open to the public. For more information, please view the Federal Register notice.
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.