Bounded by the Hawaiian Archipelago in the north, American Samoa and U.S. Pacific Remote Island Areas in the south, and the Marianas Archipelago in the west, the Pacific Islands Region encompasses the largest geographical area within NOAA Fisheries' jurisdiction. The U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone within the region includes more than 1.7 million square nautical miles of ocean, roughly equal to the total EEZ around of the continental United States, including Alaska. Specific land areas in our jurisdiction are Hawai'i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas of Kingman Reef; Howland, Baker, Jarvis, and Wake Islands; and Johnston and Palmyra Atolls.
What We Do
We work with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center to integrate cutting-edge science into policy and management decision-making, working together for the conservation and management of domestic and international marine resources.
We are responsible for maintaining healthy fish stocks important for commercial and non-commercial fisheries in the region.
We review, recommend approval or disapproval, and implement approved fishery management plans for commercial and non-commercial fisheries in the U.S. Pacific Islands. The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council develops the plans with the goal of ending overfishing and maintaining sustainable fisheries.
We develop, implement, and administer a variety of fishery management activities, including fishing regulations, permits and authorizations, economic and environmental analyses, engagement with the recreational and non-commercial fishing community, support for offshore aquaculture, and education and training for fishermen.
We are responsible for protecting marine mammals and recovering endangered and threatened species in the region. Through management, conservation and species-specific recovery efforts, and public outreach and education, we promote the survival and recovery of protected marine species.
We evaluate the status of species to determine whether they are threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. For these species, we engage in recovery planning, critical habitat designation, and other conservation and management activities that promote species recovery.
We consult with other federal agencies to ensure their activities don't jeopardize the continued existence of listed species and work closely with partners to achieve recovery for those species. We implement several programs to conserve and protect populations of marine mammals in the Pacific Islands Region, including efforts to reduce the "take" of marine mammals in commercial fisheries and maintain a robust Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Network.
We protect, restore, and promote stewardship of marine and coastal habitat that supports fisheries and conserves protected resources. Because of its location in the tropical Pacific, the Pacific Islands Region encompasses a large percentage of the nation's coral reef ecosystems.
We support the management of complex coastal ecosystems through partnerships and technical assistance with stakeholders and other federal and local partners. We conserve essential fish habitat and consult with federal agencies whose actions might adversely affect fish habitat and other living marine resources. We provide recommendations on ways that federal actions can avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts on these living marine resources.
We represent co-management of marine resources in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, Pacific Remote Marine National Monument, and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
Working with other government agencies, we negotiate and implement the provisions of international fisheries agreements in the Pacific Ocean.
We achieve effective and responsible marine stewardship and ensure sustainable fisheries management globally by working in regional fisheries management organizations, which play a critical role in the global system of fisheries governance.
We promote international cooperation in the management of highly migratory species, such as tuna and billfish, across the Pacific Ocean. We manage the administration of the South Pacific Tuna Treaty and one of the nation’s largest fisheries—the U.S. purse seine fishery that operates in the western and central Pacific Ocean.
Fisheries Observer Program
We are responsible for deploying fisheries observers on U.S. longline fishing vessels to collect data on fishing effort and catch and the incidental take of protected species, including sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds.
We place fisheries observers on all Hawai'i-based longline vessels targeting swordfish (shallow set) and cover 20 percent of the Hawai'i and American Samoa–based longline vessels targeting tunas (deep set).
We provide support to the Forum Fisheries Agency observers deploying on U.S. purse seine vessels; port sample U.S. purse seine vessels; disburse U.S. purse seine treaty data; and are members of various international observer groups. We also gather and manage data on fisheries resources and protected species.
Operations, Management and Information
Effectively carrying out our management and conservation goals requires strong internal support for our day-to-day operations.
We ensure our staff always has the most up-to-date, secure, and effective IT resources. We provide our programs with the facilities, administrative, human resource, budget execution, records management, contracting, and purchasing services we need for mission success.
We also engage with a range of fisheries and conservation non-profits, governments, industry, and researchers through competitive and non-competitive grants and cooperative agreements to improve fishery management and conservation efforts throughout the Pacific.
We provide strategic support and ensure regional priorities and activities in supporting our agency mission. We ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act guidance, work to provide the latest and best GIS data resources, and communicate in support of NOAA's mission through media and outreach and education opportunities.
Sarah Malloy is performing the duties of the Regional Administrator for the Pacific Islands Regional Office. She oversees internal governance, with a focus on enhancing employee engagement and ensuring organizational excellence through staff development, strategic operations planning, and leadership improvement. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and Princeton University, where she studied economics and public policy.
Michelle Mansker is performing the duties of the Deputy Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office. Michelle began her career with NOAA Fisheries in 2015 and has most recently worked as the Operations, Management and Information Division Chief. She has extensive experience in employee inclusion and engagement, communications and media relations, and fiscal management. Michelle has been performing the duties of the Deputy Regional Administrator since August 2022.