Aquaculture in the Pacific Islands
Aquaculture in the Pacific Islands
Strong currents, innovative site design and management ensure that this kampachi (Seriola rivoliana) farm off Kona, Hawaii is compatible with Hawaii's unique offshore environment.

Pacific Islands Region Aquaculture

NOAA Fisheries in the Pacific Islands works with the industry and research partners to develop, evaluate and transfer appropriate offshore aquaculture technologies. Our goals are to promote simplified regulatory processes in cooperation with state and other responsible federal agencies, and to facilitate improved regulatory guidance for loko i‘a (fishpond) practitioners.

Notice of Intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

NOAA Fisheries, in coordination with the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (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. Publication of this notice begins the official public scoping process to help identify alternatives and determine the scope of environmental issues for consideration in the PEIS. The PEIS is intended to support offshore aquaculture development, including appropriate management of unit species for aquaculture, reasonably foreseeable types of offshore aquaculture operations, and permitting and reporting requirements for persons conducting aquaculture activities in federal waters. Comments must be received by October 31, 2016. You may read the Federal Register notice here.

Funding Opportunities

NOAA and other federal agencies administer a variety of competitive grant programs and other financial assistance programs targeted to the development of sustainable aquaculture in the United States. Areas of interest include aquaculture research, technology development, and the commercial development of the domestic aquaculture industry. Please visit the Office of Aquaculture's Funding Opportunities page for more information.

Permit Application Guidebook for Hawaiian Fishponds

NOAA Fisheries, along with other state and federal agencies, supported the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) in the development of a master permit for Hawaiian fishponds that encompasses the extensive permits currently required. DLNR has published the Ho‘āla Loko I‘a Guidebook intended to help cultural practitioners, landowners and community groups navigate the new streamlined application process for Hawaiian fishpond revitalization. You may download a pdf (3.33 MB) version of the Guidebook here.

Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit for the Culture of Kampachi

In July 2016, the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office completed its environmental review and issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (SCREFP) to Kampachi Farms, LLC, to allow the culture and harvest of Almaco jack (Seriola rivoliana), or kampachi, using a net pen system. This net pen would be tethered to an existing mooring located in federal waters approximately 5.5 nm offshore west of Keauhou Bay on the Island of Hawaii. The two-year permit authorizes Kampachi Farms, LLC to culture and harvest a maximum amount of 30,000 kampachi or approximately 120,000 lb. Kampachi Farms, LLC is using the SCREFP to test the feasibility of a net pen design for raising kampachi. If the test is successful, this type of net pen may be practicable for future aquaculture of kampachi. For more information, that includes the Final Environmental Assessment and SCREFP, please visit here.

NOAA's Role in Aquaculture

As a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA is one of the primary agencies charged with permitting and overseeing aquaculture. The NOAA Aquaculture Office fosters sustainable aquaculture that will create employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provide safe, sustainable seafood; and complement NOAA's comprehensive strategy for maintaining healthy and productive marine populations, species, and ecosystems. In 2011, NOAA and the Department of Commerce released national aquaculture policies that guide federal actions and decisions on aquaculture and provide a national approach for supporting sustainable aquaculture. View the policies on our Aquaculture Policy page.


Our mission is to foster marine aquaculture that creates employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provides safe, sustainable seafood; and supports healthy ocean populations and ecosystems.

Aquaculture is one of a range of technologies needed to meet increasing global demand for seafood, support commercial and recreational fisheries, and restore species and marine habitat.

What's New

Contact Information

For more information, contact David at (808) 725-5180 or

David Nichols, NOAA's Pacific Islands Regional Aquaculture Specialist, works out of the Honolulu, Hawaii office of NOAA Fisheries.

Key Documents