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Pacific Pelagic Federal Regulations and Enforcement

For information on the Territory of American Samoa’s fishing regulations (0 to 3 miles offshore), click here.

For information on the Territory of Guam’s fishing regulations, click here.

For information on the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands fishing regulation, click here.

For the State of Hawaii’s fishing regulations, click here.

The following is a summary of federal regulations pertaining to the Pacific Pelagic fisheries.
For the full list of federal fishing regulations applicable to the Pacific Pelagic FEP, click here.
For the PDF version of the Pacific Pelagic FEP, click here.

Regulations include but are not limited to:

  • Limited entry fishery with a maximum of 164 vessels <101 ft in length in Hawaii-based longline fishery
  • Permits and logbooks required
  • Longline gear must be marked
  • Mandatory observer program with 100% coverage for the Hawaii-based longline shallow-set sector
  • Longline exclusion zones (most are 50 nm from shore) in waters around American Samoa, the Main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and Guam
  • Mandatory vessel monitoring system (VMS) for longline vessels
  • Limited entry of vessels in 4 different size classes for longline vessels out of American Samoa
  • Pelagic squid are now included in the Pelagics FEP
  • A hard cap for sea turtle interactions in the longline shallow-set sector and other gear requirements to minimize incidental bycatch of sea turtles
    (circle hooks and mackerel-type bait) and seabirds (either side-set or use blue-dyed bait, strategic offal discards and line shooters with weighted branch lines )
  • Mandatory annual protected species workshops for all Hawaii-based longline vessel owners and operators
  • Owners and operators of vessels registered for use under longline general permits carry and use dip nets, line clippers, bolt cutters and other
    mitigation gear, and follow handling, resuscitation, and release requirements for incidentally hooked or entangled sea turtles
  • Vessel operators using troll or handline gear to target pelagics around the PRIA need Federal permits and must submit Federal logbooks
  • Vessels in the permitted Hawaii and American Samoa-based longline fisheries must notify NMFS at least 72 hours (not including weekends and Federal holidays)
    before the vessel leaves port to fish in the EEZ around the Hawaiian Archipelago or American

Enforcement

Territory of American Samoa fishing regulations are enforced by DMWR conservation officers.

Territorial of Guam fisheries regulations are enforced by conservation officers of the government’s Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR).

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands fisheries regulations are enforced by conservation officers of the government’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) enforces the State’s fishing regulations. For more information on DOCARE, click here.

Federal fishing regulations applicable to the Pacific Pelagic FEP are enforced by the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) Pacific Islands Division as well as the U.S. Coast Guard’s District Fourteen.

A cooperative enforcement agreement exists between the NMFS OLE and each of the local government agencies, whereby NMFS OLE provides funding assistance to the local agencies to support in the enforcement of federal fishing regulations.

Pacific Pelagic FEP Management Unit Species

Scientific Name

English Common Name

Scientific Name

English Common Name

TUNAS

BILLFISHES

Thunnus alalunga albacore Tetrapturus audax striped marlin
T. obesus bigeye tuna T. angustirostris shortbill spearfish
T. albacares yellowfin tuna Xiphias gladius swordfish
T. thynnus northern bluefin tuna Istiophorus platypterus sailfish
Katsuwonus pelamis skipjack tuna Makaira mazara blue marlin
Euthynnus affinis kawakawa M. indica black marlin
Auxis spp. Scomber spp.Allothunus spp. other tuna relatives

SHARKS

OTHER PELAGICS
Alopias pelagicus pelagic thresher shark Coryphaena spp. mahimahi (dolphinfish)
A. superciliousus bigeye thresher shark Lampris spp. moonfish
A. vulpinus common thresher shark Acanthocybium solandri wahoo
Carcharhinus falciformis silky shark Gempylidae oilfish family
C. longimanus oceanic whitetip shark Bramidae pomfret family
Prionace glauca blue shark Ommastrephes bartamii neon flying squid
Isurus oxyrinchus shortfin mako shark Thysanoteuthis rhombus diamondback squid
I. paucus longfin mako shark Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis purple flying squid
Lamna ditropis salmon shark