6 Dec 2013

American Samoa Govt clamps down on harvesting of sea cucumbers

10:10 am on 6 December 2013

The American Samoa governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has placed a six month moratorium on the taking and removing of sea cucumbers in American Samoa, and its Exclusive Economic Zone.

In an executive order, the governor says the moratorium applies to all individuals, boats, vessels, corporations, organizations, and any other public or private entities.

He added exempted from the moratorium is the government's Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources who will conduct surveys to investigate the population size and density of sea cucumber species that inhabit the territory and its EEZ.

He says these surveys must be conducted to determine whether it is necessary to regulate the harvest of sea cucumber for conservation purposes.

The Governor says sea cucumbers are important in cleaning and turning over sand on the sea floor, which serves to help recycle nutrients and assists with breaking down waste matter on the reef.

The moratorium comes after fishery officials in the territory raised the alarm regarding an overfishing of sea cucumbers.