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Must-Read Pacific Islands Stories of 2021

January 13, 2022

Highlighting successful stories this past year that showcase our ongoing commitment to the science and stewardship of the marine environment in the Pacific Islands.

Adult monk seal and newborn pup on a public beach. Hawaiian monk seal RK96 and her pup rest in Waikīkī. Credit: Hawaii Marine Animal Response.

Pacific Islands Top 10 Stories

Here’s a look back at our most popular stories, images, and videos in 2021.

Spinner dolphins and divers with marine debris.
Left: Spinner dolphins received their common name because they are often seen leaping and spinning out of the water. Credit: NOAA Fisheries. Right: NOAA Coxswain William Reich and divers Rebecca Weible and Alika Garcia survey and find a large derelict fishing net at Kamokukamohoaliʻi (Maro Reef). Credit: NOAA Fisheries/James Morioka.
  1. New Regulation Protects Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins Against Disturbance
    A final rule prohibits swimming with, approaching, or remaining within 50 yards of spinner dolphins. A proposed rule may establish time-area closures of select nearshore resting areas.
  2. Monk Seal Pup Born at Kaimana Beach
    A Hawaiian monk seal pup was born on a busy Oʻahu beach in April, and became an instant sensation.
  3. Success of the 2021 Mission to Clean up Marine Debris
    ‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia: No task is too big when done together by all.
  4. Surface Slicks are Pelagic Nurseries for Diverse Ocean Fauna
    Ocean features called surface slicks are an interconnected superhighway of nursery habitat for more than 100 marine species—a hidden world just below the surface.
  5. Turtles, Tourism, and Traffic—Keeping Hawaiʻi Honu Safe
    Keeping Hawaiian green sea turtles, or honu, safe takes a collective effort.
  6. Honu Count 2021 Is On—And We Need Your Help!
    Residents and visitors: help us track sea turtles, or honu, in the main Hawaiian Islands.
  7. Video Highlights Importance of Fishing in American Samoa
    New video series features important aspects of recreational and non-commercial fishing in the Pacific Islands region.
  8. A How-To Guide for Reporting Potential Marine Wildlife Harassment in Hawai‘i
    Learn how you help protect Hawaiʻi marine wildlife through reporting.
  9. Challenges, Satisfaction, and Lots of Monk Seal Pups During 2021 Field Season
    NOAA biologists returned from monitoring and protecting Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles at two 5-month-long field camps in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
  10. Hawaiian Monk Seals Join the Animal Telemetry Network
    A new web portal lets you see where Hawaiian monk seals travel.

Pacific Islands Top Blog Posts

Left image is 5 set-up tents on a remote island. Right image is a screenshot of a student poster about snailfish species.
Left: Making a seasonal home on a remote island: Field biologists spend the summer working hard in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument at one of NOAA’s seasonal protected species research camps. Credit: NOAA Fisheries. Right: This poster was used for a contest to suggest names for three new snailfish species from the Mariana Islands. Students from elementary and high schools in Guam’s Marine Mania program participated in the program’s FishBowl contests. Poster credit: Marine Mania/Linda Tatreau of Marine Mania.

View more Pacific Islands science blogs

Noteworthy Stories You May Have Missed

What to read next? Here’s a collection of highly recommended stories we wouldn’t want you to miss. 

Left image is Hawaiian monk seal resting with her pup near a rock wall. Right image is fresh catch fish in a bowl of ice.
Left: Endangered Hawaiian monk seal RK96 and her pup Lōliʻi rest near a rock wall at Kaimana Beach in Waikīkī. Credit: Hawaii Marine Animal Response. Right: Fresh-caught taʻape on ice. Credit: Conservation International Hawaiʻi.

Dive into our Pacific Islands region news page for more stories 

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on February 10, 2023