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Pacific Islands Regional Action Plan

NOAA Fisheries and partners have developed Regional Action Plans to guide implementation of the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy in the Pacific Islands region.

A Changing Climate

Changing climate and oceans are affecting the nation’s valuable marine life and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. Warming oceans, loss of sea ice, rising seas, extreme events, and acidification are impacting the distribution and abundance of species and the structure of marine and coastal ecosystems in many regions. These impacts are expected to increase and there is much at risk. 

Expected Changes in the Pacific Islands

The Pacific Islands are expected to see, and in many cases already encountering, a range of climate impacts, such as increased ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, increased ocean acidity, and changes in ocean productivity and the severity of extreme weather. The Pacific Islands Regional Action Plan was developed to address many of these climate-related impacts across the Pacific Islands region. 

Priority Actions 

This plan identifies priority actions to implement the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy and advance climate-informed decision making, resilience, and adaptation in the region. Priority actions are organized under five key areas: 

Climate Science Strategy Objectives pyramid: Informing management, understanding mechanisms and projecting future conditions and infrastructure and tracking change
  • Tracking Baselines and Shifting Distributions
  • Understanding Climate Impacts on Life History
  • Understanding Ecosystem, Habitat, and Human Interactions
  • Improving Regional Coordination and Operations
  • Engaging External Partners and Resources

Tracking Baselines and Shifting Distributions  (Objectives 2–7) 

  • Expand staff capacity and resources
  • Assess current conditions and track changing conditions and species ranges
  • Develop species distribution models for select pelagic species
  • Assess shifts in green sea turtle behaviors and habitat
  • Examine how changing conditions affect species distributions, fishers, and communities
  • Project future species distributions based on climate scenarios
  • Develop tools to inform future Fishery Ecosystem Plan amendments
  • Investigate ways to reduce bycatch
  • Contribute to development of climate resilient markets and policies

Understanding Climate Impacts on Life History (Objectives 4–6) 

  • Establish temporal baselines and monitoring to investigate climate impacts on life history attributes
  • Identify predictive environmental and food web attributes for incorporation into stock assessments and productivity projections
  • Examine sensitivity of food webs and fisheries to changes in the oxygen minimum zone
  • Collect biological samples to gather data on species’ life histories and biology

Understanding Ecosystem, Habitat, and Human Interactions  (Objectives 2, 5–7) 

  • Expand capacity for diet studies
  • Build capacity for data collection and analyses
  • Update the Hawaiʻi Ecosystem Status Report
  • Conduct Climate Vulnerability Assessments
  • Ensure environmental justice, equity, and gender representation in climate mitigation measures
  • Understand and monitor coral recovery and degradation


Improving Regional Coordination and Operations (Objectives 3, 6, 7) 


  • Coordinate and collaborate between science and management on setting climate priorities
  • Improve regional reporting of climate variables
  • Reduce the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Island region’s carbon footprint 
  • Monitor climate impacts to protected species habitat

Engaging External Partners and Resources  (Objectives 1–7)

  • Better understand the impacts of climate change through increased capacity and resources
  • Continue to build relationships with academia, non-governmental organizations, and other federal entities, as well as with the Pacific Islands communities impacted by climate change



Last updated by Office of Science and Technology on July 07, 2023