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

NOAA Fisheries publishes an interim final rule to establish a limit on purse seine fishing effort in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) for 2015. View the interim final rule and supporting documentation here. This interim final rule is effective on May 21, 2015. A copy of the compliance guide for this interim final rule is available here. Comments on this rule are requested and should be submitted by June 5, 2015.

NOAA Fisheries is launching a new initiative to highlight Species in the Spotlight. While all of our species listed under the Endangered Species Act are valuable and vulnerable, NOAA Fisheries has a new initiative to focus on species across the nation that are most at risk of extinction, and for which we believe a focused effort CAN significantly reduce, stabilize, or reverse their rate of decline by 2020. Here in the Pacific Islands Region, Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific leatherbacks have been chosen as two of the eight species nationally to be "in the spotlight." We can't recover these species alone. For more information on the "Species in the Spotlight" initiative, see here and find out what you can do to help!

NOAA Fisheries releases a Recovery Outline for the 15 Indo-Pacific threatened coral species. The Recovery Outline is an interim guidance document to help direct recovery efforts and recommends specific high priority actions to stabilize and recover the species. For more information see here.

PIRO Observer Program celebrating over 20 years of service! Learn more here.

NOAA Fisheries has proposed to reclassify the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Protection and restoration efforts over the past 40 years have led to an increase in numbers and growth rates for humpback whales in many areas. The proposed rule finds that ten of those 14 populations do not warrant ESA listing. NOAA Fisheries is opening up a 90 day public comment period for this proposed rule. During this time, NOAA Fisheries welcomes public comments and any new information to ensure that our final determination is based on the best available scientific and commercial information.

For general information on humpback whales, go to:

To read the proposal’s Federal Register notice, go to:

Humpback Whale Images Slideshow and Facts vs. Fiction Information:

Humpback whale B-roll:

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (i.e., the Services) have issued a 12-month petition finding, proposed rule, and public hearing notice regarding the status of the green sea turtle under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Services found that the green turtle is composed of 11 Distinct Population Segments (DPS) that qualify as “species” for listing as endangered or threatened under the ESA, and we propose to list eight as threatened and three as endangered.  Although we find that the Hawaiian green turtle population (referred to in the proposed rule as the Central North Pacific population) does constitute a DPS, we do not find removing this population from the ESA warranted at this time.  All green sea turtles in the Pacific Islands Region are protected by the ESA and remain protected under the proposed rule.  Links to the rule and supporting documents are available on the following webpages:

The Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud released its action plan today. The plan articulates the aggressive steps that federal agencies will take both domestically and internationally to implement the recommendations the Task Force made in December 2014. Learn more about the task force recommendations and action plan here.

In 2014, the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office executed over $11 million in grants, cooperative agreements and other financial support to constituents. For more information on all the exciting projects funded, see the Federal Programs Office 2014 Annual Report here.

NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule to implement fishing restrictions on oceanic whitetip sharks, whale sharks, and silky sharks in the western and central Pacific Ocean. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here. The final rule is effective March 23, 2015. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.

NOAA Fisheries proposes to establish requirements for fishing in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion. The proposed rule is intended to implement fishery management measures consistent with Presidential Proclamation 9173. Comments will be accepted until February 13, 2015. View the proposed rule and submit comment here.

New videos bring Marine National Monuments to you! Two new films on the monuments in the Pacific Islands Region were produced to bring these remote marine monuments to you. Our Deepest Waters allows the viewer to see the fragile living marine resources found in these protected areas and understand the efforts NOAA Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service and territorial partners are making to manage and safeguard these special places. The Marvelous Musical Report on the Marine National Monuments provides a lighter look at these monuments with a younger audience in mind. Both films were produced by Open Boat Films and SisBro Films through a NOAA Fisheries grant.

To view the videos see:
Our Deepest Waters at and
Marvelous Musical Report at

Looking for experience in marine science? NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center's Young Scientist Opportunity (PYSO) program is offering paid summer employment opportunities for college students through the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu. There are 4 anticipated openings for the summer of 2015 in areas such as protected species, fisheries, ecosystems and oceanography, and coral reefs. PYSO applications close February 28. For more, see

NOAA and its partners continue expansion of the Dolphin SMART program on Maui. The Dolphin SMART program awards annual recognition to tour operators who responsibly view wild dolphins and educate their patrons on dolphin conservation. For more information on Dolphin SMART Program in the Hawaiian Islands, click here.

Maui tour business, Pacific Whale Foundation, earns the Dolphin SMART recognition in Hawaii, as the sixth Dolphin SMART business in the state, and the second business on Maui.

A valuable new guide is now available to help shellfish farmers navigate the permit process. The publication, Information for Shellfish Growers, contains information on the main types of leases, permits, or other forms of authorization needed for a commercial shellfish farm. Making permitting requirements more transparent to shellfish growers is important for improved coordination and timely permit decisions. For more information, please click here.

The Pacific Islands Regional Office launched their Twitter and Facebook accounts to further enhance your ability to get timely information and enhance communication! Our Twitter and Facebook posts will provide information on such things as information about Hawaiian monk seals, funding opportunities and the next outreach and education event. This an opportunity to connect and share real-time material about our efforts in marine resource conservation and management within the Pacific Islands Region.

Connect with us and get the latest information on Twitter and Facebook

On January 13, 2015, NOAA Fisheries published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to inform the public that we are considering protective regulations for the newly listed 20 coral species (79 FR 53851) and solicit information to help inform those regulations. For more details on the types of information we are seeking and how to submit information, please see our Corals page.

NOAA Fisheries is seeking nominations for the advisory committee established under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. The Permanent Advisory Committee, composed of individuals from groups concerned with the fisheries covered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention, will be given the opportunity to provide input to the United States Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission regarding the deliberations and decisions of the Commission. Nominations must be received no later than March 2, 2015. For more information please view the Federal Register notice here.

Hawaii Longline Limited Entry Permits, Western Pacific General Longline Permits, and Receiving Vessel Permits expire on March 3, 2015 . You must renew your permit if you intend to continue fishing in 2015. Click here for permit details.

Fishermen may now submit marine mammal mortality/injury report forms online or via email. All commercial fishermen are required to report to NOAA Fisheries all injuries or mortalities of marine mammals that occur during commercial fishing. NOAA Fisheries announces new options for fishermen to submit reports electronically. View reporting instructions here.

NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule to implement restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean for 2015. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here. The final rule is effective January 1, 2015. A copy of the Compliance guide for this final rule is available here.

Draft National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy available online for review and comment. Comments on the draft will be accepted until December 31, 2014. To view the draft policy and to learn how to share your opinion, please see here.

NOAA Fisheries announces a direct final rule revising the generic name for the Hawaiian monk seal to Neomonachus under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This rule does not change the listing status of the Hawaiian monk seal under the ESA, rather it reflects a technical change to the taxonomic name of the species which has been acknowledged in scientific literature and catalogued in ZooBank the official register for the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. This rule becomes effective January 16, 2015 without further action, unless significant adverse comment is received by December 17, 2014. View the final rule and submit comments here.

NOAA Fisheries publishes a final rule to revise the 2014 limit on fishing effort by U.S. purse seine vessels on the high seas and in the U.S. EEZ in the western and central Pacific Ocean. View the final rule in the Federal Register and supporting documents here. The final rule is effective December 15, 2014. A copy of the compliance guide for this final rule is available here.

NOAA report finds 2013 U.S. seafood landings and value increased from 2012. For more information see here.

NOAA Fisheries is now accepting applications for the Fiscal Year 2014/2015 Saltonstall-Kennedy competitive grant competition authorized by the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act, commonly known as the S-K fund, provides grants or cooperative agreements for fisheries research and development projects addressing aspects of U.S. fisheries, including, but not limited to, harvesting, processing, marketing, and associated infrastructures. Applications are due December 15, 2014. For more information see here.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Region is now accepting applications for the FY15 Marine Turtle Management and Conservation Program. This competitive grant program funds conservation, protection, or management actions supporting recovery of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed sea turtle species occurring within the Pacific Islands Region (PIR) or aggregations that may be shared between the PIR and other Pacific nations. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, February 15, 2015. More information on the competitive program can be found here.

NOAA Fisheries issues a permit (79 FR62105) to authorize incidental take of endangered whales by Hawaii deep-set and shallow-set longline fisheries. The permit is for a period of three years and will authorize the incidental, but not intentional, taking of three stocks of marine mammals listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the Hawaii deep-set and shallow-set longline fisheries.  The affected species are the endangered humpback whale, (Megaptera novaeangliae), Central North Pacific stock; sperm whale, (Physeter macrocephalus), Hawaii stock; and false killer whale, (Pseudorca crassidens), Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale (MHI IFKW) stock.

For the associated Final Negligible Impact Determination (NID) see here.

NOAA Fisheries publishes a proposed rule to implement restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean for 2015. View the proposed rule in the Federal Register and supporting documentation here.

NOAA Fisheries issues an Endangered Species Act Section 7 biological opinion on the continued operation of the Hawaii-based deep-set pelagic longline fishery. After reviewing the current status of ESA-listed humpback whales, sperm whales, MHI insular false killer whale DPS, North Pacific loggerhead DPS, leatherback sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles, green sea turtles, and the Indo-west Pacific scalloped hammerhead DPS, the environmental baseline for the action area, the effects of the proposed action, and the cumulative effects, it is NMFS' biological opinion that the proposed action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of these eight species, and since no critical habitat will be adversely affected the action is not likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.

For more on NMFS' biological opinion, please see here.

NOAA Fisheries Publishes a Final Rule to list 20 species of coral as Threatened under the ESA: 15 in the Indo-Pacific and 5 in the Caribbean. In the Pacific Islands Region, one or more of the 15 corals proposed for listing occur in Guam (4), the Northern Marianas (2), American Samoa (8), and the Pacific Remote Island Areas (3). No listed corals occur in Hawaii. Please see the Protected Resources Division's Corals page for more information and to view the Federal Register Notice and supporting documents here. For press release see here. For the NOAA Fisheries Featured Story see here.

To hear comments on the Coral Listing made by Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries, click here.

NOAA Fisheries Announces Availability of Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions. The Final PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions is available for public review and comment. This Final PEIS provides decision-makers and the public with an evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic effects of funding, permitting, and conducting research and enhancement activities identified in the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Plan with the goal of conserving and recovering the species. The Final PEIS can be viewed and downloaded at the PEIS project website. We also invite the public to check out our final PEIS newsletter that provides important summary information about the Final PEIS.

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Announcements & Events

Endangered Species Day
Friday, May 15, 2015

JBPHH Summer Safety Event
Thursday, May 21, 2015
9am - 3pm
Sharkey Theater, Pearl Harbor HI

North Shore Ocean Fest
Saturday, June 6, 2015
11am - 4pm
Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku HI

NOAA Fisheries Science Camp
June 8-10 & 12
NOAA Inouye Regional Center, Ford Island HI

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