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Pacific Remote Island Areas

The Pacific Remote Island Area (PRIA) includes the following islands and atolls:  Howland, Baker, Jarvis, Wake Islands, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra and Johnston Atolls. In the PRIA, federal jurisdiction extends 200 miles seaward from the shoreline.The US Pacific Remote Islands Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) was developed by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and incorporates all of the management provisions of four existing fishery management plans (FMPs)—the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish FMP, the Crustaceans FMP, the Precious Corals FMP and the Coral Reef Ecosystems FMP—that are applicable to the US Pacific Remote Islands Archipelago. The PRIA FEP includes regulations establishing marine management zones, protected species provisions and permit and reporting requirements that all foster data collection, monitoring and enforcement in this remote region. Although pelagic fishery resources play an important role in the biological as well as the socioeconomic environment of the US Pacific Remote Islands Archipelago, they are managed separately through the Pacific Pelagic FEP.

The marine ecosystem and habitat surrounding these islands are considered some of the most geographically isolated in the world.  These islands were formed through volcanic activity and consequently have steep drop-offs to the sea floor. Each of these islands has relatively little habitat suitable for sustaining a large benthic-associated marine biomass, but do have rich a history of fishing and use. Commercial and recreational fishing for coral reef, crustacean, bottomfish, and pelagic  species have occurred at varying degrees in the PRIA.

 

In 2006, President G.W. Bush established the PRI Marine National Monument (PRIMNM), which generally extended from 0- 50 nautical miles around each of the PRIA. In 2014, President Obama expanded the PRIMNM to the outer-boundary the US EEZ around Wake and Jarvis Islands and Palmyra Atoll/Kingman Reef. Commercial fishing is prohibited in the PRIMNM, whereas non-commercial and recreational fishing is allowed, but subject to permit and reporting requirements. Fishing regulations applicable to the PRIA can be found at 50 CFR 665 subpart E and 50 CFR 665 subpart H.