Finfish fact sheets aim to maintain healthy fisheries in Micronesia

Takeaway: The Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) has developed species fact sheets on 30 finfish species that are common and important fisheries species in Micronesia. This information can help inform management measures to maintain healthy fisheries.

Two pages side-by-side that use similar colors and text. A drawn image of a yellow fish with green stripes in the top left corner of the left-hand page and a line of logos along the bottom of the right-hand page.
Front and back pages of one species fact sheet. There are fact sheets for 30 species in total.

In 2006, the leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands committed to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020, known as the Micronesia Challenge. They reaffirmed and updated their commitment in 2021 to effectively manage at least 50% of near-shore marine resources and 30% of terrestrial resources by 2030. A new objective includes better-integrated fisheries management with marine protected area (MPA) networks. The Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) is a long-term capacity-building program and a community of managers collaborating to enhance protected area management in partnership with local communities in the Pacific and has been supporting the Micronesia Challenge goals.

A photo of a vibrant coral reef with the words Pacific Islands Managed & Protected Area Community at the top and a white silhouette of a traditional sailing canoe on the left.
The Pacific Islands Managed & Protected Area Community is a group of managers collaborating to enhance protected area management with local communities in the Pacific.

Management partners have recognized that marine no-take zones have not been sufficient to improve many populations of important fisheries species, and additional management measures are needed to maintain healthy fisheries. Through funding from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and technical support from the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office, PIMPAC and Micronesia fisheries management partners developed species fact sheets that include the latest science on key life history information like size at maturity and home range, habitat needs, regional status, and vulnerability to extinction, among others.

An infographic showing a drawing of a fish in the top left, words throughout the page, and a photo of the same fish in the bottom right.
The fact sheets provide an easy green, orange, and red color system to determine status.

The fact sheets also provide information on commercial value, potential climate benefits of the species, and preferred management options. There are spaces to capture additional local knowledge to complement and help fill in the gaps in the science. These fact sheets were developed to support management decision-making, especially through a participatory community planning process, and will be shared with PIMPAC partners to advance sustainable fisheries management efforts in the Pacific region and progress towards the Micronesia Challenge goals.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands used information similar to what is included in these fact sheets, as well as long-term coral reef monitoring data funded by CRCP, to pass a comprehensive package of new fish harvest regulations in 2020. The Fish Harvest Regulations 2020 bans certain harvesting methods such as spearfishing with SCUBA diving gear and the use of chemicals or explosives based on their impacts on the fish stocks and their habitat. The regulations also call for fish inspectors to regulate new minimum fish size standards to help ensure those species reach reproductive age and can produce young before being removed from the population. PIMPAC provides a venue for the Marshall Islands to share its process and lessons learned with other partners.

Upper left - blue and yellow fish in front of a coral reef; upper right - a silver fish with blue water in background; bottom - a school of white fish with black stripes with some black fish.
Some of the fish species in the fact sheets - steephead parrotfish (top left), yellow spotted trevally (top right), convict tangs (striped fish in bottom photo).

Related Stories and Products