NOAA 2003-R123
Contact: Gordon Helm
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) today established a new regional office and science center in Honolulu to provide better customer service and stewardship of living marine resources within the expansive area of the Western Pacific. NOAA Fisheries is an agency of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“We will have senior NOAA Fisheries leadership directing our scientific research and management of the living marine resources in the Western Pacific,” said Bill Hogarth, NOAA Fisheries director. “This will ensure that the field structure is aligned to accurately and effectively reflect the needs of the agency’s constituencies as well as provide needed conservation and management programs in this area.”

Bounded by the Hawaiian Archipelago in the north, American Samoa and U.S. possessions in the south, and the Marianas Archipelago in the west, the new Pacific Islands Region encompasses the largest geographical management area within NOAA Fisheries. The total area of these Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) is more than 1.7 million square nautical miles, equal to the total EEZ of the entire U.S. mainland, including Alaska.

“I’m pleased to announce that the new Pacific Islands offices are officially open for business, with an acting regional administrator and science center director in place, until we can complete the hiring process for these two key positions,” Hogarth said.

Dr. Samuel Pooley will serve as the acting regional administrator. Pooley is the director of the NOAA Fisheries Honolulu Laboratory.

Dr. Jeffrey Polovina has been selected as the acting director of the new science center. Polovina is the chief of Ecosystem & Environment Investigation within the Honolulu Laboratory.

The new regional office’s areas of responsibility will focus on fishery and resource management in the Central and Western Pacific and will have three major operational divisions: Sustainable Fisheries; Protected Resources and Habitat Conservation.

The new science center will provide high-quality scientific research and advice for fisheries management through the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and other international bodies, help the recovery of protected resources, sustain protected species, and maintain healthy coastal habitats.

The two Pacific Islands offices join Alaska, Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast regional offices and their corresponding Fishery Science Centers. They were formerly known as the Pacific Islands Area Office under the Southwest Regional Office located in Long Beach, Calif., and the Honolulu Laboratory under Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif.

The new Honolulu-based regional office and science center will initially use the staff and facilities of the existing Honolulu area office and laboratory. NOAA is currently looking at future sites to improve inadequate facilities.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

NOAA, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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