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Must-Read Pacific Islands Stories of 2022

December 30, 2022

Year in review: Find out which of our stories you read the most and which ones we highly recommend. Also, get to know some of our amazing staff.

A close-up of two hands cupped together with palms up around a sea turtle in the distance on a sandy beach with waves along an ocean coast in the background. One example of how you get great photos of sea turtles while remaining a respectful distance of at least 10 feet away. Credit: Levon Basso.

We’ve shared many great stories throughout 2022. This includes a feature about giant clam aquaculture in Guam and an explainer about what satellite tags tell us about false killer whales. And an important video about how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted Pacific Island fishing values

Among all of these stories, these are the ones you’ve read the most. 

Most-Read Stories

Two photos side by side show on the left side a close-up of the head of a vivid green mahimahi and on the right side a close-up of an oceanic whitetip shark and its front pectoral fin.
Left: What do mahimahi eat? A new collaborative program with fishermen aims to find out. Credit: NOAA Fisheries. Right: To protect oceanic whitetip sharks, a new rule prohibits the use of wire leaders in favor of monofilament leaders. Credit: Andy Mann.
  1. Hawaiian Monk Seal Population Surpasses 1,500!
    After decades of declining numbers, the total population of monk seals began to increase gradually in 2013 in both the Northwestern and main Hawaiian Islands. It has now surpassed 1,500 individuals for the first time in 20 years.
  2. NOAA-Led Team Works to Free Entangled Humpback Whale Reported off Kauaʻi
    An entangled humpback whale was seen with signs of distress, including being emaciated, light colored, and rough skinned, with patches of whale lice. A NOAA-led team of marine mammal responders removed an estimated 2,300–2,500 feet of heavy gauge line from the whale.
  3. How Hawaiian Monk Seals Get Their Names
    Have you ever heard someone refer to a Hawaiian monk seal by a name and wondered, “where did that name come from?” Wonder no more! Here’s how Hawaiian monk seals get their names.
  4. Modifying Fishing Gear Reduces Shark Bycatch in the Pacific
    Research shows that using monofilament leaders instead of wire leaders while fishing could reduce shark bycatch by roughly 40 percent. And this year NOAA Fisheries released a rule prohibiting wire leaders in the Hawaiʻi deep-set longline fishery to protect threatened oceanic whitetip sharks.
  5. NOAA Enlists Hawaiʻi Fishermen for Mahimahi Diet Study
    A new program collaborates with fishermen to help reveal what these open-ocean predators are eating. Fishermen can receive financial rewards for participating in the program.

And in case you missed them, here are other stories we highly recommend reading. 

Editor’s Choice

Two photos side by side show on the left side two monk seals fighting in the waves and on the right side a team of staff members toss a grappling hook from a small boat.
Left: Two monk seals get into a scuffle at the water’s edge. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Joseph Bennington-Castro. Right: NOAA staff practice catching a buoy with a grappling hook as part of whale disentanglement training. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Cameron Dabney.

Our work would not be possible without our amazing staff. Get to know the staff we featured in fun profiles this year.  

Meet NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Staff

A series of six photos in a grid showing the staff members highlighted in 2022.
Top left: Kilali Gibson. Credit: Kilali Gibson. Top center: Lesley Hawn. Credit: Lesley Hawn. Top right: Alex Kahl. Credit: Alex Kahl. Bottom left: Diana Kramer. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Joseph Bennington-Castro. Bottom center: Jarad Makaiau. Credit: NOAA Fisheries. Bottom right: Jamie Thomton. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on January 09, 2023