Pacific Islands Region

World Oceans DayIn commemoration of 10 years since the publication of the revised Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal, NOAA announced that 2017 was the “Year of the Monk Seal.” This activities surrounding this occasion included recovery actions, cutting-edge research, and public events targeted at building awareness and momentum for the next 10 years of monk seal recovery.

The monk seal population overall has been declining for over six decades and current numbers are only about one-third of historic population levels, but importantly, the prolonged decline has slowed over the last 10 years. The most recent annual population assessment shows that the iconic Hawaiian monk seal, bucking past trends, has increased in numbers by 3% annually for the past three years. The population is now estimated to be around 1,400 seals. Over the last decade, NOAA Fisheries and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, along with numerous partners including the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and others, have engaged in concerted research and recovery efforts to save monk seals, particularly young female seals.World Oceans Day

On June 10, NOAA and its partners hosted an event to celebrate the 2017 Year of the Monk Seal, World Oceans Day, and the return of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia (voyaging vessels) to Hawai‘i, and provided families an opportunity to learn about endangered monk seals and other marine protected resources in the region. More than 1,000 people attended, with many local families and young children, and a large percentage of attendees were military families and underserved audiences from Oʻahuʻs westside.


POC:  Naomi McIntosh,
           Charles Littnan,

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