The scholarships are offered annually to college students with close connections to American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who are pursuing degrees that will bolster the territories' capacity to manage their fishery ecosystems. Students who accept a scholarship agree to work with their local fishery agency upon graduation for an equivalent amount of time that they receive the scholarship.
The 2020-2021 recipients include Aveipepa Fua (American Samoa) who will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in marine science at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo; Jude Lizama (CNMI) who will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in oceanography with a concentration in fisheries science at Hawai'i Pacific University; and Leilani Sablan (Guam) who will be pursuing a master's degree in biology at the University of Guam.
Since the scholarship program began in 2016, five recipients have graduated, with three having fulfilled their work requirements in American Samoa and the CNMI and two beginning their work commitment in 2019; and six recipients are poised to graduate in 2020 (two students) and 2021 (four students).
The scholarship program was established through a memorandum of understanding involving several federal agencies, the local fishery agencies in the territories and several colleges and universities in Hawai'i and the territories. It is funded by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office.