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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
Revealing the Unknowns of an Unusual Catch
Last year, a NOAA Fisheries observer brought to port a strange deep-sea fish that turned out to be a bluntnose sixgill shark, which is rarely caught on longlines. Read our feature story here to learn more about this abnormal catch, as well as the efforts of NOAA Fisheries and Waikīkī Aquarium scientists to better understand it.
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Pelagic Deep-set Tuna Longline Fisheries in the Pacific Islands
NOAA Fisheries and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council announce the Notice of Intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the continued authorization of U.S. Pacific Island deep-set tuna longline fisheries. The PEIS would evaluate elements of the longline fisheries based in Hawaii (including those operating from the U.S. west coast), American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
We encourage the public to comment on issues relating to management of the deep-set longline fisheries, including including catch of target species (e.g., tunas) and non- target species (e.g., sharks), interactions with protected species, and impacts on the pelagic ecosystem. The public comment period is open until April 14, 2017.
For more information on the PEIS about deep-set tuna longline fisheries, 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
$15 million estimated in funding for the NOAA 2017 Coastal Resilience
NOAA is seeking proposals for two categories of activities: strengthening coastal communities and habitat restoration. The Coastal Resilience Grants Program support efforts to prepare coastal communities and ecosystems to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and climate-related hazards and make our Nation safer and economy more secure. For more information about the funding opportunity, see here. Proposals are due by March 15, 2017.
NOAA Fisheries proposes to list the giant manta ray (Manta birostris) as a threatened species, and finds that the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (82 FRN 3694)
NOAA Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Programís Restoration Implementation Grants Federal Funding Opportunity
NOAA Fisheries announces that the program will award up to $100 million to restoration partners to implement projects addressing habitats and coastlines damaged by oil and chemical spills. In collaboration with NOAA, selected partners will use these funds to implement habitat restoration actions that will address damage from oil and hazardous substance spills. Habitat restoration projects selected through this funding opportunity will contribute to productive and sustainable fisheries, the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems and resilient communities. For more information about the funding opportunity, see here. Proposals are due by March 6, 2017
NOAA Fisheries proposes to list the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (81 FR 96304)
NOAA Releases Pacific Islands Regional Action Plan for Climate Science
NOAA Fisheries released the Pacific Islands Regional Action Plan (RAP) for climate science to guide implementation of the NOAA Fisheries National Climate Science Strategy. The Pacific Islands RAP is one of five across the nation and will provide decision makers with the climate-related information they need to reduce impacts to and increase resilience of the region's valuable marine resources and the many people, businesses, and communities that depend upon them. Read more here.
NOAA Habitat Focus Area Federal Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2017
NOAA is announcing the availability of a federal funding opportunity to support multi-year projects and activities in the NOAA Habitat Blueprint Habitat Focus Areas. Fiscal Year 2017 awards will total up to $1.5 million, with total anticipated funding over three years up to $3.5 million, contingent upon final appropriations. The deadline for applications is February 2, 2017. For more information go here.
Building resilience to climate change one landscape at a time.
A Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative report and companion website were released to highlight partnerships that build resilience of natural resources in the U.S. These partnerships demonstrate the benefits of using existing collaborative, landscape-scale conservation approaches to address climate change and other resource management challenges. A website was created to house and visualize all the information gathered and created for organizations to utilize and build upon in future actions for the three sites that comprise the Hawaii landscape (West Hawaii, West Maui, and Oahu). Details are available here.
Notice of a valid specified fishing agreement for Guam.
NOAA Fisheries announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates 1,000 mt of the 2016 bigeye tuna limit for the Territory of Guam to U.S. longline fishing vessels. The agreement supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands, and fisheries development in Guam. NOAA Fisheries began attributing to Guam bigeye tuna caught by vessels identified in the agreement, starting on November 24, 2016. Read the notice here.
NOAA Fisheries is closing the U.S. pelagic longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean.
The fishery will reach the 2016 allocation limit for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This action is necessary to comply with regulations managing this fish stock. The closure is effective 12:01 a.m. local time December 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. Note: this closure does not apply to any vessel included in a valid agreement with another territory. Read the Federal Register notice here.
RELEASED: NOAA Fisheries Priorities and Annual Guidance for Fiscal Year 2017
NOAA Fisheries announces the Priorities and Annual Guidance for 2017. This document features Fisheries' goals, priorities, and anticipated results for next year. View the Fisheries Priorities and Annual Guidance for 2017 here.
NOAA releases Fisheries of the U.S. Report 2015!
2015 was another above-average year for fishing and seafood consumption, with the average American adding nearly an extra pound of seafood to their diet, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report. "Fishing and seafood is big business for our country. Marine and coastal fisheries contribute billions of dollars to the national economy, support 1.8 million jobs, and keep our ports and waterways open for business," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. View press release here.
Pacific Bluefin Tuna Warrants Status Review – Open for Public Comment.
NOAA Fisheries has found that a petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act presents sufficient evidence to warrant further consideration. We will now conduct a status review of this species throughout its range. See the Federal Register notice here and submit scientific or commercial information that might help us in this review by December 10, 2016. For more information, see the Pacific bluefin tuna species page here.
NOAA Fisheries is convening a workshop to solicit facts and information from experts to inform recovery planning for the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) insular false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) Distinct Population Segment (DPS), and is requesting new information that will be helpful in recovery planning.
The four-day recovery planning workshop for the MHI insular false killer whale DPS will be held Tuesday, October 25 through Friday, October 28, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Ohana Waikiki East Hotel, 150 Kaiulani Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815. The workshop is open to the public; for more information on the workshop agenda and contact information, please see here.
NOAA Fisheries announced another milestone in the transfer of submerged lands to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of the Interior formally reached an agreement that is one of the final steps necessary in the process of transferring the submerged lands around the islands of Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas), Maug, and Asuncion and associated mineral rights to the CNMI. For more information, please see press release here.
Video: The Heavenly Beauty, U‘ilani
NOAA Fisheries PIRO works hard to protect species, such as the endangered Hawaiian monk seal (a "Species in the Spotlight"), while respecting local traditions, practices, and customs. Check out our video feature here to learn the story of U‘ilani, a beloved monk seal who passed away from a disease and was later honored by the local community.
Aquaculture; Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.
NOAA Fisheries, in coordination with the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, intends to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposed Pacific Islands Region aquaculture management program and alternatives. The official public scoping process is now open and will help identify alternatives and determine the scope of environmental issues for consideration in the PEIS. The PEIS is intended to support aquaculture development in the exclusive economic zone of the Pacific islands Region, including appropriate management unit species for aquaculture, reasonably foreseeable types of offshore aquaculture operations, and permitting and reporting requirements for persons conducting aquaculture activities in Federal waters. NOAA Fisheries must receive comments by October 31, 2016. You may read the Federal Register notice here.
NOAA Fisheries issues a final rule identifying 14 distinct population segments (DPSs) of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) under the Endangered Species Act.
Four of these DPSs are now listed as endangered, 1 as threatened, and 9 DPSs do not warrant listing in the final rule. Humpback whales in Hawaii (Hawaii DPS) and American Samoa (Oceania DPS) are no longer listed. Humpback whales in the Marianas Archipelago (Western North Pacific DPS) are listed as endangered. For more information on the humpback whale, please see here.
NOAA Fisheries issues an interim final rule for approach regulations for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) within 200 nautical miles of the islands of Hawaii.
Existing humpback whale approach regulations in Hawaii were issued under authority of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). With the September 8, 2016 ESA final listing rule (see above), which divides the globally-listed humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments (DPSs), the ESA regulations no longer apply because the Hawaii DPS is no longer listed.
NOAA Fisheries determined that approach regulations are still warranted because humpback whales are charismatic animals that are in Hawaiian waters during an important part of their life cycle (breeding and calving) and need the space that approach regulations provide. NOAA Fisheries is publishing this interim final rule under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that is similar to the ESA regulations. Humpback whale approach regulations in the Hawaiian Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary will remain in place within Sanctuary waters.
The public is able to comment on this interim final approach rule until November 7, 2016. View the interim final approach rule and instructions for submitting comments here. View the Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact here. For more information on the humpback whale, see here.
More Than $2.4 Million Awarded for Bycatch Reduction Solutions
NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.4 million to 18 projects under the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. The funding supports key partners in the research and development of innovative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries. For the regional breakdown of the 2016 Bycatch Reduction Engingeering Program awards, please see here.
Chambered Nautilus Warrants Status Review - Open for Public Comment
NOAA Fisheries found that a petition to list the chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act presents sufficient evidence to warrant further consideration. We will now conduct a status review of this species throughout its range. Please submit pertinent scientific and commercial information here by October 25, 2016. For more information, see the chambered nautilus species page here.
NOAA Fisheries announces closure of the purse seine fishery in the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine (ELAPS) from September 2, 2016 through December 31, 2016.
View the announcement, the underlying rule, supporting documentation, and compliance guide here.
NOAA awards $5.4 million in grants for endangered, threaten species recovery.
NOAA announces $5.4 million in funding for 17 new projects and the continuation of 8 multi-year projects under the 2016 Species Recovery Grant Program. Funding opportunities count towards recovering species and tracks with our mission of preserving our marine resources for future generations.
NOAA Fisheries is now accepting applications for the 2017 Species Recovery Grant Programs to States until October 17, 2017 and to Tribes until October 24, 2016. State applications, see here. Tribal applications, see here.
NOAA Fisheries Releases a Recovery Outline for the Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) Distinct Population Segment.
This outline is meant to serve as an interim guidance document to direct recovery efforts, including recovery planning, for this endangered species until a full recovery plan is developed and approved. For more information on recovery planning for the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale DPS, please see here.
Respect Our Sea Turtles
Summer is here and with it comes sea turtle nesting season! As a result, you may witness increased sea turtle activity, including mating in nearshore waters, as well as more basking (resting) on beaches. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources reminds everyone — locals and visitors alike — to respect our sea turtles.
- Report all hawksbill sea turtle sightings, any nesting activity (turtle tracks or nest digging), and injured or dead turtles to NOAA's Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline:
- O‘ahu/Lana‘i/Moloka‘i: (808) 725-5730; 286-4377 (after hours)
- Kaua‘i: (808) 274-3344
- Maui: (808) 286-2549 (primary) or 286-2899
- Hawai‘i: (808) 286-4359 (Hilo); 881-4200 (N. Kona); 327-6226 (S. Kona)
Report illegal or suspicious activity that may result in turtle injury or death by calling the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) at (808) 587-0077 or 643-DLNR.
The Cost of Saving Sea Turtles from Gillnets
New research from NOAA Fisheries scientists shows that lightsticks attached to gillnets can significantly reduce sea turtle bycatch in small-scale fisheries. Read our feature story here to learn more about this fascinating and important research.
How Underwater Cameras Can Help Conserve Hawai‘i's Deep 7 Bottomfish
NOAA Fisheries scientists are testing out new technologies to get a better handle on the population health of Hawaii's Deep 7, which includes ehu, onaga, and opakapaka, among other species. Read our feature story here to learn more about these efforts, and how they help ensure the bottomfish are available in the future for all to enjoy.
Success, 100 Meters Below.
While aboard the NOAA ship Hi'ialakai last October, NOAA Fisheries summer intern Christopher Lindsay successfully tested an underwater camera system he designed to study deep-sea life. Read our two-part profile of him here to learn about his journey to NOAA Fisheries and his fascinating project.
About a decade ago, NOAA Fisheries partnered with a non-profit organization to provide science exposure and real-world research experiences (on topics like bycatch mitigation) to underserved students in California.
Read more about this unique collaboration and the amazing results it's yielding here.
Enjoy this award-winning, hilarious sing-along short film about why the Marine National Monuments are worth protecting for future generations. Virtually dive into the Pacific blue waters to see stunning corals, sharks, monk seals, sea turtles, giant clams, deep sea shrimp, volcanoes, sea birds, and much more - all in high definition. The target age for this film is upper elementary, but it's enjoyable for all ages and has subtitles in English and Samoan (Chamorro, Carolinian and Hawaiian available upon request). Use the accompanying lesson plan to dive deeper into learning about marine debris, marine science careers, and the marvelous resources found in these amazing, remote locations (more lessons will be added soon).
In Hawaii, new underwater maps are revealing locations too difficult for divers to visit, allowing managers to "see" some coral reefs for the first time ever. The health and abundance of valuable fisheries and corals depend on these habitats.
Monk Seal of the Month
The monk seal of the month for March is an adult female known as Y377. Read her story here.
A public service announcement for the Hawaiian Islands region for reporting entangled humpback whales. Whale season in Hawai'i runs November through April.
Encountered a stranded or entangled marine mammal? Please call 1-888-256-9840
Looking for the latest marine life educational materials?
NOAA Fisheries developed Suitcase Science Kits for Grades 6-8 teachers to bring into their classrooms! Check out our 7 kits available to borrow for FREE and reserve your kit today!
For more information on outreach and education, click here.
Facebook page name change
We changed the title of our Facebook page to "NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands" to better reflect the strong collaboration between the Regional Office and Science Center in the management and conservation of our marine resources. Follow us @usnoaafisheriespacificislands.
Saturday, April 8, 10am - 7pm
Sunday, April 9, 10am - 5pm
Blaisdell Exhibition Hall
Species in the Spotlight: Hawaiian Monk Seal
Get the latest news on monk seals, here.