Pacific Islands Regional Office National Marine Fisheries Service

In April 2003, the NOAA Fisheries Service (also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service) transferred the responsibility for managing the marine resources in federal waters surrounding the U. S. Pacific Islands from the Southwest Regional Office and Southwest Fisheries Science Center, based in Long Beach and La Jolla, California, respectively, to the newly established Pacific Islands Regional Office and Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fishery management responsibilities of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council in Honolulu continue.

Bound by the Hawaiian Archipelago in the north, American Samoa and U.S. Pacific remote island areas (PRIAs) in the south, and the Mariana's Archipelago, including Guam in the west, the Pacific Islands Region encompasses the largest geographical management area within both the NOAA Fisheries Service and the fishery management council system. The total area of the U. S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters included in the region is more than 1.5 million square nautical miles, roughly equal to all the remaining U. S. EEZ waters surrounding the continental U.S., including Alaska.


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The Pacific Islands Region's jurisdiction includes activities in both domestic and international waters, with a focus on managing fisheries based in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the PRIAs (Kingman Reef, Howland, Baker, Jarvis and Wake Islands, and Johnston, Midway and Palmyra Atolls).

The Pacific Islands Regional Office is responsible for assisting the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council in the development of fishery management plans and amendments. PIRO is then responsible for drafting and implementing federal fishery regulations, issuing federal fishing permits, and monitoring fisheries through its observer program. Other major responsibilities include the conservation and recovery of protected species, the preservation and restoration of marine habitat, and the coordination with international organizations to implement and monitor fishery agreements and treaties. PIRO has one field office located in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and staff located in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

In addition to the Pacific Islands Regional Office and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, two other offices, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, collaboratively support the conservation and management of marine fisheries, protected species, and marine habitat. Working together, these offices are committed to employing regional expertise to provide improved customer service and stewardship of living marine resources within this expansive geographic region.

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Updated: March 21, 2013