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 seafood; it'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 seal--only 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.
Pacific Islands Fishing Permits
Viewing Marine Wildlife in Hawaiʻi
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. Our research focuses on target fish species' life history, population assessments, and 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
Recent Science Blogs
The Need for Action The Pacific Islands are expected to see increased ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, increased ocean acidity, lower ocean productivity, and changes in ocean currents, weather patterns, and extreme weather. Many of these changes...
We depend on the ocean for food, medicine, income, recreation, and much more. In turn, we have to balance our uses of the ocean, including fisheries, to make sure that these resources are around for future generations. Ecosystem-based management considers...
At the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, the Cetacean Research Program uses a variety of passive acoustic approaches to advance its assessment capabilities and to examine the relationships between cetaceans and their environment. The use of passive...
Science for Conservation We study sea turtle species that live in the North Pacific Ocean during one or more life stages, from hatchling to adult. This includes green, loggerhead, olive ridley, leatherback, and hawksbill sea turtles—all...