The Pacific Islands, comprised of American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. Pacific islands, are surrounded by a rich diversity of marine life that is vital to our culture and economic stability. We thrive on sustainable seafoodÃ¢â¬âit's key to our health and well-being. We also benefit from recreational and commercial fishing industries, which contribute nearly $1 billion in sales and 10,000 jobs to our economy. In 2015, commercial fishermen landed more than 36 million pounds of finfish and shellfish.
We are home to the lovable, yet critically endangered Hawaiian monk sealÃ¢â¬âonly 1,400 remain. Other popular species include green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, false killer whales, and humpback whales. Our coral reefs support about 25 percent of marine life, but these areas are among the most threatened ecosystems because of the effects of natural events and human activities such as ocean acidification, coral bleaching and disease, marine debris, and pollution.
Our work to ensure sustainable fisheries and protect marine life is a joint effort between NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office and the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, offering cutting-edge science to help inform management decisions in an ever-changing environment. We work together to conserve and manage domestic and international marine resources in a vast geographical area.
Our vision for the region is to achieve sustainable fisheries and seafood, healthy marine ecosystems that provide stability for fishery resources, recovery of threatened and endangered species, and enhanced opportunities for commercial, recreational, and cultural activities in the marine environment.
We maintain and manage healthy ocean ecosystems that promote and provide sustainable fisheries, conserve and recover protected marine resources, and enhance opportunities for commercial, recreational, and cultural activities in the Pacific Islands region.
We responsible for overseeing and implementing fishery management plans for commercial and non-commercial domestic fisheries in the Pacific Islands, as authorized under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Our objectives are to maintain healthy stocks, eliminate overfishing, and rebuild overfished stocks important to commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries.
Safely Sharing the Sea with Spinner Dolphins
Spinner dolphins are probably the most frequently encountered cetacean in waters of the Pacific Islands Region. They get their common name from the impressive spins they perform during social encounters. Spinners spend their daylight hours in coastal waters, generally in calm bays.
Volunteer Opportunities with Protected Species
Everyone in a community shares in the responsibility of managing and protecting our resources for future generations. There are opportunities for you to help!
Marine National Monuments
The monuments were created to protect the abundant and diverse coral, fish and seabird populations; facilitate exploration and scientific research; and promote public education regarding the value of these national treasures.
The Fisheries Observer Program is responsible for debriefing longline observers to document interactions of all protected species, identify and quantify fish catches and bycatch (unintended catch), and collect samples for life history studies.
We provide science to support the conservation and management of fisheries and living marine resources across the Pacific Ocean. We are dedicated to the recovery and conservation of protected species and fisheries resources through biological, ecological, and social science.
Surveying a Vast Ocean
We conduct research, monitoring, and analysis of environments and living resource systems in coastal and offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean. This means field research activities from near-shore island-associated ecosystems like coral reefs, to open ocean ecosystems on the high seas. Humans are a key part of the ecosystem, so ecosystem sciences work includes research of the social and economic aspects of fishery and resource management decisions.
Monitoring and Researching Fisheries for Sustainability
We provide fisheries research and monitoring science to support fisheries management in the Pacific Islands region including research activities like target fish species' life history, population assessments, and research into methods to reduce bycatch of non-target species. We monitor fishing activity in federal fisheries and work with the State of Hawaii and Pacific Territorial agencies to improve their fisheries monitoring efforts.
Providing Science to Protect Marine Species
We provide the scientific foundation for the protection and conservation of Hawaiian monk seals, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles in the Pacific islands. We evaluate their life history and ecology, conduct population assessments, and contribute to rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
Research Surveys in the Pacific Islands
Our scientists conduct field surveys to study and monitor marine life and ecosystems in the U.S. Pacific Islands region. Surveys are conducted in partnership with local, state, and federal agencies and universities.
NOAA Ships Oscar Elton Sette and Hi‘ialakai are our primary research vessels, berthed at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu. The Sette and Hi'ialakai support our fisheries and oceanographic research, ecological surveys, and other field activities in the central and western U.S. Pacific Ocean.
Question: Why are large scale surveys like HICEAS so rare when they seem to be quite important and interesting? — Jessica (Honolulu, HI) Answer: HICEAS 2017 was the first survey of its kind in Hawaii since 2010. These surveys are rare because our study...
We provide the scientific foundation to inform effective implementation of ecosystem-based management and conservation strategies for fisheries throughout the U.S. Pacific Islands. This includes fish life history, population assessments, and research into...
We conduct research, monitoring, and analysis of living marine resources and ecosystems across the Pacific Ocean. Our field research activities range from near-shore island ecosystems like coral reefs to open ocean ecosystems on the high seas....