Aquaculture in the Pacific Islands

Aquaculture is one of a range of technologies needed to meet increasing global demand for seafood, support commercial and recreational fisheries, and restore species and marine habitat.

The Pacific Islands Regional Office works with the industry and research partners to develop, evaluate and transfer appropriate offshore aquaculture technologies. Our goals are to promote simplified regulatory processes in cooperation with state and other responsible federal agencies, and to facilitate improved regulatory guidance for loko i‘a (fishpond) practitioners. 

NOAA and the Department of Commerce released national aquaculture policies that guide federal actions and decisions on aquaculture and provide a national approach for supporting sustainable aquaculture. 

Regulation & Policy

Proposed Aquaculture Management Program

In coordination with the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the potential environmental effects of a proposed Pacific Islands aquaculture management program and alternatives. The purpose is to develop a program to support an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in federal waters (beyond 3 nm from shore) of the Pacific Islands. The program would be implemented by amending the five fishery ecosystem plans that the Council and NOAA Fisheries use to manage fisheries in the region. 

Regional Activities

Permit Application for Hawaiian Fishponds

NOAA Fisheries, along with other state and federal agencies, supported the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) in the development of a master permit for Hawaiian fishponds that encompasses the extensive permits currently required. DLNR has published the Ho‘āla Loko I‘a Guidebook intended to help cultural practitioners, landowners and community groups navigate the new streamlined application process for Hawaiian fishpond revitalization. 

Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit for the Culture of Kampachi

In July 2016, the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office completed its environmental review and issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit to Kampachi Farms, LLC., to allow the culture and harvest of Almaco jack (Seriola rivoliana), or kampachi, using a net pen system. This net pen would be tethered to an existing mooring located in federal waters approximately 5.5 nm offshore west of Keauhou Bay on the Island of Hawaii. The two-year permit authorizes Kampachi Farms, LLC to culture and harvest a maximum amount of 30,000 kampachi or approximately 120,000 lb. Kampachi Farms, LLC is using the permit to test the feasibility of a net pen design for raising kampachi. If the test is successful, this type of net pen may be practicable for future aquaculture of kampachi. For more information, view the Final Environmental Assessment and SCREFP.

Funding Opportunities

NOAA and other federal agencies administer a variety of competitive grant programs and other financial assistance programs targeted to the development of sustainable aquaculture in the United States. Areas of interest include aquaculture research, technology development, and the commercial development of the domestic aquaculture industry. Please visit the Office of Aquaculture Funding Opportunities page for more information.

Additional Resources



Understanding Marine Aquaculture

The United States has a small and vibrant commercial marine aquaculture industry supported by world class research and technology.

Musssel harvest in Shelton, WA

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on April 20, 2020