Protected Resources


Updated: March 2017

Marine Protected Species and Habitat of the
Hawaiian Islands

Marine Mammals

All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Those identified under the Endangered Species Act Listing are also protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Common Name Scientific Name ESA Listing
Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus Endangered
Blainville's Beaked Whale Mesoplodon densirostris
Bryde's Whale Balaenoptera edeni
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Ziphius cavirostris
Dwarf Sperm Whale Kogia simus
False Killer Whale Hawaiian Insular Pseudorca crassidens Endangered
False Killer Whale Hawaiian Pelagic Pseudorca crassidens
Fin Whale Balaenoptera physalus Endangered
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae
Killer Whale Orcinus orca
Longman's Beaked Whale Indopacetus pacificus
Melon-Headed Whale Peponocephala electra
Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata
North Pacific Right Whale Eubalaena japonica Endangered
Pygmy Killer Whale Feresa attenuata
Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps
Sei Whale Balaenoptera borealis Endangered
Short-Finned Pilot Whale Globicephala macrorhynchus
Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus Endangered
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis
Fraser's Dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin Stenella attenuata
Risso's Dolphin Grampus griseus
Rough-toothed Dolphin Steno bredanensis
Spinner Dolphin Stenella longirostris
Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba
Hawaiian Monk Seal Neomonachus schauinslandi Endangered
Northern Elephant Seal Mirounga angustirostris

Sea Turtles

All sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Common Name Scientific Name ESA Listing
Green Turtle, Central North Pacific DPS Chelonia mydas Threatened
Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata Endangered
Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea Endangered
Loggerhead Turtle, North Pacific DPS Caretta caretta Endangered
Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea Threatened

Fish

Common Name Scientific Name ESA Listing
Giant Manta Ray Manta birostris Proposed Threatened
Oceanic Whitetip Shark Carcharhinus longimanus Proposed Threatened

Corals

There are currently no known ESA-listed coral species found in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Detailed information describing the biology, habitat, and conservation status for sea turtles can be found in the recovery plans and other sources at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/, and for marine mammals at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals.


Designated Critical Habitat

Critical habitat is a term defined in section 3 of the ESA, and refers to areas that contain habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species, and which may require special management considerations or protections.

In the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat includes all beach areas, sand spits and islets, including all beach crest vegetation to its deepest extent inland as well as the seafloor and marine habitat 10 m in height above the seafloor from the shoreline out to the 200 m depth contour around:

  • 1) Kure Atoll
  • 2) Midway Atoll
  • 3) Pearl and Hermes Reef
  • 4) Lisianski Island
  • 5) Laysan Island

  • 6) Maro Reef
  • 7) Gardner Pinnacles
  • 8) French Frigate Shoals
  • 9) Necker Island
  • 10) Nihoa Island

In the main Hawaiian Islands Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat includes the seafloor and marine habitat to 10 m above the seafloor from the 200 m depth contour through the shoreline and extending into terrestrial habitat 5 m inland from the shoreline between identified boundary points around:

  • 11) Kaula Island (includes marine habitat only see areas not included below)
  • 12) Niihau (includes marine habitat from 10m-200m in depth; see areas not included below)
  • 13) Kauai
  • 14) Oahu
  • 15) Maui Nui (including Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai)
  • 16) Hawaii

Detailed information on Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat can be found at http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_critical_habitat.html.


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