Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary
ONMS Sentinel Site, Pacific Region

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
A north pacific humpback whale. Credit: HIHWNMS, NOAA Fisheries permit #782-1438.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which is jointly managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawai`i, lies within the shallow warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands and constitutes one of the world's most important humpback whale habitats and includes other significant habitats such as coral reefs. Through education, research and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and significant marine habitats in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Although past research efforts have made significant advances in characterizing and monitoring humpback whales and their habitat, many unanswered questions remain concerning habitat requirements, population size, distribution and dynamics, threats and impacts, as well as other important biological and ecological parameters. A key research program for the sanctuary focuses on the issue of humpback whale entanglement in marine debris and active fishing gear. Efforts are also made to collaborate with researchers working in other parts of the humpback whale’s range around the world In coming years, the sanctuary plans to conduct research on other marine species and habitats including marine mammals, turtles, fish and corals. Future efforts will be focused on addressing threats to the ecosystem such as water quality, climate change, and marine debris. Research efforts funded or coordinated by the sanctuary focus on sanctuary waters and surrounding areas as well as other areas in the Pacific.. Interested citizens, graduate students and principal investigators should contact the Research Coordinator to discuss their research ideas prior to launching a project.