16 Feb 2009

Low recognition of marine sanctuary regulations in American Samoa

1:10 pm on 16 February 2009

A meeting in American Samoa on the Management Plan for Fagatele Marine Sanctuary has found that while the corals are in good health, large fish species numbers have dropped.

The public meeting, one of three to be held, was to gather input regarding the Bay.

The Superintendent for Fagatele, Gene Brighouse, told the meeting that only 20 percent of people questioned in a recent survey were aware of Fagatele Bay Regulations.

She says this was alarming given that the Bay sanctuary has been in existence for 23 years.

"There are particularly concerns with overfishing continuing in the Bay, there is notice of remnants of some destructive fishing practices, so I think when people are asked the questions, nearly half the residents believe that fishing and harvesting should be regulated. Currently there are regulations in Fagatele for zones, but not a lot of people are aware of those."

Gene Brighouse says they are looking at increasing patrols around the Bay, and they are also keen to work more closely with the local community.