Conserving Habitat in the Pacific

An overview of habitat conservation in the Pacific Islands.


The NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region encompasses a large percentage of the nation's coral reefs. Coral reefs are important to indigenous Pacific Island communities, including Native Hawaiians and Chamorrans, for food, cultural practices, recreation, and overall survival. In fact, the Pacific Islands location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean exposes the islands’ coral reefs to large open ocean swells, which play an important coral habitat role in structuring the coral reef community.

Our habitat protection efforts include broad research programs on the marine habitat throughout the Pacific Islands Region. Our goal is to conserve, protect, and restore marine habitat and coastal ecosystems. The management objectives and priorities for the Pacific Islands are based on the Fisheries Local Action Strategy, a collaborative  and locally-based efforts to decrease fishing-related impacts to coral reefs. These efforts include:

  • Habitat mapping and characterization
  • Physical and biological oceanography studies
  • Research on a variety of marine habitat issues, including marine debris, invasive species, and pollutants

We also work to increase partnerships with other federal and local authorities. These partnerships allow us to maintain sustainable coastal ecosystems and implement strategies that minimize the introduction and impacts of alien species and marine pollution. We provide technical reviews of all proposed federal actions in coastal habitats in the Pacific Islands Region to eliminate or reduce potential negative environmental impacts on the marine habitat.

Habitats in the Pacific

Fisheries Local Action Strategy in Hawaiʻi

A collaborative effort to decrease fishing related impacts to coral reefs in Hawaiʻi.

Learn more about fishing-related impacts to coral reefs, collaboration, outreach, and engagement

Fishery Engagement and Collaboration

Marine National Monuments in the Pacific

The Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll, and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monuments were created to protect the respective areas' abundant and diverse coral, fish, and seabird populations; facilitate exploration and scientific research; and promote public education regarding the value of these national treasures.

Learn more about the monuments

Regional Activities


Habitat Blueprint in the Pacific

Resources for Fishermen and Managers

Resources for Educators



Measurement Guide for Regulated Nearshore Fishes of Hawaiʻi

The guide is a tool to measure fish you catch. It provides regulation and size information to encourage keeping only fish that have had a chance to…


Using Scientific Data Collected in the Marine National Monuments

The 7-12 grade lesson plans are available for educators that introduce students to the concept of marine protected areas, expanding students'…


Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale Critical Habitat Designation Map

This designation does not include most bays, harbors, or coastal in-water structures. Within this larger proposed area, NOAA Fisheries excluded 10…



Stock Assessment of Guam Coral Reef Fish, 2019

This report contains single-species assessments of 12 reef-associated fish stocks around the island of Guam using data from various sources focusing…


Prioritizing Reef Resilience Through Spatial Planning Following a Mass Coral Bleaching Event

Following the recent 2014–2017 global coral bleaching event, managers are seeking interventions to promote long-term resilience beyond…


Pacific Islands Regional Office Strategic Plan: 2016–2020

In this plan, we’ve identified five goals, each of which has specific objectives, as well as strategies to reach those objectives. Our goals…

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on December 18, 2019