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Visit the Pacific Islands Volunteer Opportunities page on the new Fisheries Website!
Protected Resources Volunteer Opportunities
Want to help protect our marine resources for future generations? If you’re able to contribute your time and energy with a positive, “can-do” attitude, here are some opportunities to join in and help out!
Teams of volunteers across the islands routinely assist in monk seal and sea turtle response activities. Depending on the island and their interest, volunteers may assist with the following:
- Providing educational outreach about the Hawaiian monk seal, its endangered status, how the public can help, and how best to respectfully observe seals in the wild.
- Responding to seals hauled out to rest and providing a "seal resting area" buffer to alert the public to the presence of the seal and help limit disturbance.
- Monitoring monk seal pupping events.
- Reporting marine animals in distress (due to injury, entanglement or otherwise) and standing by until help arrives.
- Responding to live or dead cetacean (whale and dolphin) strandings.
- Providing educational outreach at specific beaches where sea turtles bask (sleep on the beach) to minimize human disturbance.
- Volunteering with a sea turtle nesting/beach monitoring program.
- Providing classroom presentations about Hawaiian monk seals or sea turtles.
- Sharing information about Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles at public outreach festivals and community events.
If you are interested in monk seal volunteering, please contact the following:
|Island(s)||Who to Contact||Contact Information|
|Oahu & Moloka‘i||Hawaii Marine Animal Response||http://h-mar.org/|
|Kaua‘i||Kaua‘i Monk Seal Conservation Huifirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Maui||Maui Nui Nui Marine Mammal Response Coordinatoremail@example.com|
|Hawai‘i Island||The Marine Mammal Center: Ke Kai Ola||http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/Get-Involved/volunteer/satellite-facilities/kko.html|
If you are interested in sea turtle volunteering, please contact the following (see below for more information on these programs):
|Island(s)||Who to Contact||Contact Information|
|Oahu||Hawaii Marine Animal Response||http://h-mar.org/|
|Oahu||Malama na Honu||http://malamanahonu.org|
|Oahu||Haunama Bay volunteer Program||http://hbep.seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/volunteer-program|
|Maui||Hawaii Wildlife Fund||https://www.wildhawaii.org/marinelife/turtles.html|
|Maui||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dawn Patrol||Courtney_Brown@fws.gov|
|Maui||Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute||http://mocmarineinstitute.org/|
|Hawai‘i Island||Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawksbill Turtle Program||https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/nature/turtles.htm|
Sea Turtle Basking and Public Management
Green sea turtles in Hawaii bask (sleep) on the beach. This makes them very accessible to the public but also highly susceptible to human disturbance. Volunteers provide educational outreach at a few public beaches and at community festivals or outreach events in order to help reduce or prevent human disturbance to sea turtles. Volunteers with Malama na Honu (Oahu) and Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui) receive training and help by providing information and guidance to the public to minimize disturbance and ensure respectful and responsible wildlife viewing opportunities. These programs accept all ages and capabilities, and provide training to qualified individuals. NOAA recommends viewing sea turtles – on land and in the water – from a minimum distance of 10 feet (3 meters).
Sea Turtle Nesting and Beach Monitoring
Green and hawksbill turtles nest (lay their eggs) in Hawaii. There are a number of community-based volunteer programs in Hawaii that help monitor nesting activity. Volunteers with Malama na Honu (Oahu), Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sea Turtle Dawn Patrol (Maui), and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii Island) receive training to help to identify nesting activity, or work directly with researchers to participate in monitoring activities. The hawksbill program on the Island of Hawaii is geared towards college students or recent college graduates that can tolerate hiking and camping in remote conditions for extended periods of time. If interested in volunteering, please contact programs directly at contact information listed above.
If interested in whale or dolphin stranding opportunities (any island):
Please contact the University of Hawaii "UH stranded cetacean program" at: Whaleanddolphinstranding@gmail.com, or call 808-956-3840.
Report Sightings of Protected Wildlife
There are often opportunities for the public to assist in gathering scientific information, otherwise known as Citizen Science. You can support ongoing conservation efforts by providing the following information:
Report all marine animal emergencies to NOAA at 888-256-9840This is a state-wide reporting number for monk seals, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins.
Monk seal sightingsHawaiian monk seals, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, are endemic to Hawaii, meaning they are native and found nowhere else in the world. NOAA and partners are keenly interested in monitoring the population and the public is encouraged to report any monk seal sightings via our state-wide hotline, 888-256-9840.
Hawksbill turtle sightingsHawksbill sea turtles are rare in Hawaii and the population is struggling to recover despite being afforded the same protections as Hawaiian green turtles. Please report all sightings of hawksbill turtles to our state-wide hotline: 888-256-9840 or send photos to Hawaiian Hawksbill Conservation . The photo/sighting will be credited to you and if it’s a new turtle in the database, you will get to name it.
Green turtle monitoringEvery summer green turtles migrate to French Frigate Shoals (FFS) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to mate and lay their eggs. Biologists who monitor nesting activity at FFS may apply a temporary number (etched on their shells) so that they can easily identify them during the nesting season. After turtles depart FFS, they migrate back to their foraging habitats in the Main Hawaiian Islands. This provides a unique opportunity for the public to help NOAA identify which habitats are used by the most important components of the population – nesting adults! If a numbered turtle is seen, please call our state-wide hotline: 888-256-9840 or email to RespectWildlife@noaa.gov.