7 Jan 2009

US marine protection plans nothing new for American Samoa waters

12:37 pm on 7 January 2009

The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme says the US President's new marine protection plans which encompasses a section in American Samoa waters is nothing new.

President George W Bush is to announce the creation of the world's largest marine protection area spanning half a million square kilometres including Rose Atoll in American Samoa and a chain of remote Islands in the Central Pacific.

A Marine Conservation Analyst at SPREP, Paul Anderson, says Rose Atoll has enjoyed marine protection for more than 30 years.

But, he says opportunities may arise from the new US initiative.

"Rose Atoll has been off-limits to anyone besides the Department of Marine Wildlife in American Samoa and the Fishing Wildlife Service. It hasn't been exploited or used anything besides conservation for decades. So if it changes then it might open up other funding schemes perhaps recognition, but there shouldn't be any actual changes to conservation."

Paul Anderson says he plans to investigate the new protection regulations thoroughly.