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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 conservation and 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
The New Pacific Islands Website
We are working hard to improve the user experience for our visitors to our new website. Our website is still a work in progress and improvements will continue. We are officially transitioned to our new web address—www.fisheries.noaa.gov.
For the latest updates, please visit our new homepage at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pacific-islands and please update your bookmarks and links.
Notice of intent to prepare and environmental impact statement for the U.S. purse seine fishery in the western and central Pacific Ocean
NOAA Fisheries publishes a notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for future management actions for the U.S. purse seine fishery in the western and central Pacific Ocean. This notice represents the beginning of the public scoping process and invites interested parties to provide comments on alternatives to be considered in an EIS and to identify potential issues, concerns, and any reasonable additional alternatives that should be considered. The comment deadline has been extended. Comments must be submitted by October 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET.
View the Regulatory action details for more information on the notice of intent and opportunity to comment.
Purse Seine Fishery Closure on the High Seas in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean
NOAA Fisheries announces the U.S. purse seine fishery on the high seas in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean between the latitudes of 20° N. and 20° S. will close as a result of reaching the 2018 purse seine fishing effort limit in that area. The closure will be in effect from 00:00 on September 18, 2018 coordinated universal time (UTC), through the rest of the calendar year.
Effective Date of Daily Purse Seine Fishing Effort Reporting Requirement in the Final Rule to Implement Recent Decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
NOAA Fisheries announces approval by the Office of Management and Budget of a collection-of-information requirement contained in regulations implementing recent decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, in a final rule published on July 18, 2018. The intent of this final rule is to inform the public of the effectiveness of the collection-of-information requirement associated with daily purse seine fishing effort reports included in the final rule. The reporting requirement is effective on August 30, 2018, but purse seine vessel owners and operators must report purse fishing effort daily only if and when directed by NOAA Fisheries.
View the Regulatory action details for more information about the final rule and the collection-of-information.
Notice of public meeting of the Permanent Advisory Committee to Advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
On August 23, 2018, NOAA Fisheries announced a meeting of the Permanent Advisory Committee to advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), to be held in on October 11-12, 2018, in Honolulu, HI. Read the meeting notice for details.
Critical Habitat Designation for Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whales
On July 24, 2018, NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule to designate critical habitat for Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales in waters from 45 meters to 3,200 meters in depth surrounding the Main Hawaiian Islands (from Ni‘ihau to Hawai‘i). This designation under the Endangered Species Act does NOT include most bays, harbors or coastal in-water structures. Within this larger area, we excluded 10 areas from the designation due to economic and national security impacts.
View the regulatory action details for more information about the designated areas, impacts, and supporting documents.
Closure of the Southern Exclusion Zone to Hawaii-Based Deep-Set Longline Fishing
NOAA Fisheries announced a temporary rule to close the Southern Exclusion Zone to Hawaii-based deep-set longline fishing from July 24 through December 31, 2018. This closure is being implemented pursuant to the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan because the specified false killer whale bycatch limit for the year has been reached.
See the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team page for more information.
Final Rule to Implement Recent Decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
NOAA Fisheries announces the final rule to implement recent decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. These regulations implement catch limits for the U.S. longline fleet operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), fishing effort limits for the U.S. WCPO purse seine fleet, restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices for the purse seine fleet, and a prohibition on transshipments in the Eastern High Seas Special Management Area.
View the regulatory action details for more information about the final rule and supporting documents, including compliance guides on how to comply with the final rule.
Draft Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management Implementation Plans Released
NOAA Fisheries announces the release of the nine Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management Implementation Plans for public comment.
The draft plans are available for public comment through September 30, 2018.
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
NOAA Fisheries publishes an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to seek public input about management of U.S. fishing vessels in the area of overlapping jurisdiction between the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Comments must be submitted by July 12, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET.
Read more about the management measures for fishing vessels that target tuna and other highly migratory fish species in the area of overlapping jurisdiction on Regulations.gov.
FY19 Saltonstall-Kennedy Federal Funding Opportunity
NOAA Fisheries announces the the FY19 Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Federal Funding Opportunity and inviting applicants to submit pre-proposals by July 23, 2018. The 2019 priority focus areas were modified to continue to add emphasis on funding science initiatives that track closely with industry priorities. This year, the priority focus areas are Promotion, Development, and Marketing; Marine Aquaculture; and Support of Science that Maximizes Fishing Opportunities, Revenue and Jobs in U.S. Fisheries While Ensuring the Long-Term Sustainability of Marine Resources.
For a full listing of the priority focus areas, the pre-proposal process and all other relevant information, please visit our S-K Grants page for the Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Dr. Sylvia Earle Names Palmyra Atoll a ‘Hope Spot’ for
the World’s Ocean
The Ocean Agency announces Palmyra Atoll as a "Hope Spot" by Mission Blue, a non-profit coalition dedicated to creating a global network of marine protected areas. NOAA Fisheries has surveyed and monitored Palmyra's corals and reef fish for nearly 20 years. Because Palmyra’s reefs are as close to pristine as those found anywhere else in the world, with minimal human disturbance, the atoll serves as an ideal natural laboratory, providing scientists with a baseline for what a healthy coral reef ecosystem should look like. View the Palmyra Atoll a "Hope Spot" press release..
For more information about Palmyra Atoll, please visit:
Shining a Light on Toxoplasmosis
NOAA Fisheries releases new infographic about toxoplasmosis, a growing environmental and public health threat in Hawai‘i that has killed at least eight Hawaiian monk seals since 2001. Along with other federal, state, and university experts, the agency will also be participating in a free public forum about the parasitic disease.
To see the new infographic and get more info about the forum, check out our web story on the new NOAA Fisheries website.
The Saga of Pacific Paradise
In October 2017, a ship called Pacific Paradise grounded off Waikīkī. The U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA Fisheries, and other partners worked diligently for weeks to successfully free the vessel from the reef and sink it in deeper waters, with minimal damage to natural resources.
Check out our feature story on the new NOAA Fisheries website to learn more about the trials and tribulations of this incident and the partnerships that made the ship's removal possible.
RELEASED: NOAA Fisheries Priorities and Annual Guidance for Fiscal Year 2018
NOAA Fisheries announces the Priorities and Annual Guidance for 2018. This document features Fisheries' goals, priorities, and anticipated results for next year. View the Fisheries Priorities and Annual Guidance for 2018.
NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule to list the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
In response to a petition and after conducting a comprehensive status review of the species, we determined that the oceanic whitetip shark is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of its range.
For more information, please visit our oceanic whitetip shark species page.
NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule to list the giant manta ray (Manta birostris) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act
In response to a petition and after conducting a comprehensive status review of the species, we determined that the giant manta ray is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of its range.
For more information, please visit our manta ray species page.
Progress Update for the Fisheries Implementation Plan
NOAA Fisheries announces the progress update for our recreational fisheries work through 2018. Nearly 9 million U.S. saltwater anglers took an estimated 61 million fishing trips resulting in 439,000 jobs, $63 billion in sales and a $36 billion contribution to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. NOAA Fisheries have completed or made substantial progress on more than 80 percent of the plan’s projects focusing on supporting accessible and sustainable recreational fisheries
Progress Update Highlights:
- Distributing thousands of fish descending devices to anglers.
- Issuing final guidance on periodic evaluations of fishery quota allocations.
- Providing funding to partners in Maryland to remove the Bloede Dam.
- Conducting surveys to estimate expenditures and economic impacts associated with saltwater recreational fishing trips.
- Hosting release mortality symposia at the 2016 American Fisheries Society meeting and the 2017 World Recreational Fisheries Conference.
- Hosting nine regional recreational fisheries-focused dialogues in 2017.
Fisheries of the United States for 2016 Released
NOAA Fisheries announces the release of the Fisheries of the United States 2016 report. It reflects the importance of healthy and sustainable fisheries that support societal, economic, and ecological resilience. In 2015, U.S. marine and freshwater aquaculture production was valued at $1.4 billion, equal to about 21 percent of the value of the nation’s seafood production (wild and farmed combined). Check out the highlights of the six highest value U.S.species groups infographic.
For more information about the fisheries statistics for the U.S., see the Fisheries of the United States 2016 report.
New Permit Application Fees!
NOAA Fisheries revised the non-refundable application processing fees for several permits. The following fee changes are effective now.
- American Samoa longline limited entry permit application - $67
- Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit application - $47
- Northern Mariana Islands bottomfish permit application - $48
Previously revised fees are still effective.
- Hawaii longline limited entry paper permit application - $52
- Hawaii longline limited entry online permit renewal - $31
- WCPFC area endorsement application - $54
For more information about permits and applications forms, please visit the Fishing Permits page.
The Marine Recreational Information Program releases the Framework for Addressing National Academies Recommendations and Strategic Plan
NOAA Fisheries released two documents today: the Framework for Addressing the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Recommendations following its review of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) and the final version of the five-year MRIP Strategic Plan. The MRIP Strategic Plan emphasizes collaboration with partners, meeting customer needs, ensuring sound science and quality products, and improving communications with stakeholders, including recreational anglers.
The Framework and the Strategic Plan can be found at the MRIP website, www.countmyfish.noaa.gov.
NOAA Awards ~$3 Million in Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistant Grants
NOAA Fisheries announces almost $3 million of grants given through the 2017 Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grants program awarding 33 grants in 13 states totaling nearly $3M under FY 2017 funding. Ultimately, Prescott Grants support a core mission of NOAA – the conservation and recovery of protected marine species. Recipients will use their award funds to respond to marine mammal strandings, improve capacity for response and rescue, and conduct scientific investigations into the cause(s) of stranding events.
In the Pacific Islands, the Marine Mammal Center and University of Hawai‘i each received grants for their work in monk seal rehabilitation and cetacean (whales and dolphins) mortality research, respectively.
$2.3 million in grants to 18 projects under the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program
NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to 18 projects under our 2017 Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. The program's priority is to reduce bycatch, a key component in the ongoing effort to end overfishing in the United States. The grants support key partners in the research and development of innovative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality in our nation’s fisheries. Check out the 2017 awarded projects!
NOAA Fisheries completes consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project
On August 21, 2017, NOAA Fisheries issued letters on the Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in response to their requests for consultation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The letters represent the cooperative work between the USFWS and NOAA Fisheries to evaluate the effects of the Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project on federally threatened and endangered marine species and their designated critical habitat, and essential fish habitat, which are those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. The Lehua Island Ecosystem Restoration Project will be implemented by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the co-lead on the Service’s Final Environmental Assessment, in partnership with the Lehua Island Restoration Steering Committee.
The letters that NOAA Fisheries provided to the USFWS represent the culmination and conclusion of the ESA and EFH consultations on the Lehua Island Project. NOAA Fisheries ESA letter concurred with the USFWS’ evaluation that the proposed Lehua Island Project may affect, but not likely result in adverse effects to federally threatened green sea turtles, endangered hawksbill sea turtles, endangered Main Hawaiian false killer whales, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals and their designated critical habitat. NOAA Fisheries EFH letter provided the USFW conservation recommendations to minimize the effects of the Lehua Island Project on EFH.
For more information on the consultation requirements of ESA and EFH see:
- NOAA Fisheries Consulting with Federal Agencies (ESA Section 7) page
- NOAA Habitat's Consultations to Protect Essential Fish Habitat page
For more information on the Lehua Island Project, see copies of the NOAA Fisheries letters:
NOAA Fisheries determines that the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act
In response to a petition and after conducting a comprehensive status review of the species, we have determined that the Pacific bluefin tuna does not warrant listing as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act at this time.
For more information, visit our Pacific bluefin tuna page.
Understanding the NOAA Marine Recreational Information Program and Fishing Effort Survey in Hawaii
November 28, 2018
10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
NOAA Fisheries Pier 38
1139 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 220
Honolulu, HI 96817
Nominations to the Marine Mammal Scientific Review Groups under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
NOAA Fisheries is seeking nominations for new members for the three independent regional Scientific Review Groups (Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific) established under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. Nominations must be received by August 15, 2018.
Updated Stock Assessment Improvement Plan Builds on Past Success
NOAA Fisheries released its new Stock Assessment Improvement Plan in 2018 to provide strategic guidance for its stock assessment enterprise.
NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement is releasing their draft priorities document for public comment.
Seeking public comment on these priorities to obtain input from diverse interest groups, promote transparency and set expectations for future enforcement activities.