For Immediate Release November 21, 2002
The American Samoa Government
has received $348,854 in grant funds from the Department of The Interior’s
Office of Insular Affairs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management for Fiscal
The funds were awarded
following the approval of the American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group’s
(CRAG) proposal dated July 18, 2002, which noted that:
· American Samoa’s coral reefs are involved in a long recovery phase, following damage by poor water quality in Pago Harbor, Crown of Thorns Starfish attacks, hurricanes and coral bleaching.
· The reefs impacted by human activities are not recovering as fast as those affected by natural forces.
Overfishing of reef fishes is considered to be the most serious
threat to our reef resources.
CRAG has identified new and
ongoing reef problems, and has developed a Coral Reef Initiative Plan to deal
with them. This plan is continually updated and includes the following projects:
which have been completed or are ongoing:
· Sedimentation Criteria and Controls
· Coral Reef Program Coordinator
· Establish Governor’s Task Force on Population
· Meeting Participation for Island Members
· Coral Identification Training
· Community Conservation and Management Workshop
· Marine Resource Education Center
· Enforcement Enhancement
Expert Fish and Coral Surveys
Funding has been
obtained for these yet to be completed high priority projects:
· Island-wide Ocean Monitoring
· Revisions of Environmental Regulations and Laws
· American Samoa Marine Laboratory (Feasibility Study, including site research)
· Inventory of Harvested Invertebrates
· Coral Reef Education Video
· Coral Reef Education Materials
Local Survey on Fish and Coral Reef Habitat (current emphasis is
Funding has not yet
been obtained for these high priority projects:
Integrated Nearshore and Stream Ecosystem Study (EPA)
Seven medium priority projects
were proposed. Only one, Coral Reef Mapping, has obtained funding, but all US
coral reefs are now being mapped. American Samoa’s reef mapping should be
completed in mid-2003 by a federal agency.
CRAG’s primary focus for the
coming year will again be on Education and Outreach and the development of
Marine Protected Areas. The renovation of the Department of Marine and Wildlife
Resources’ aquaculture facility will play a big part in these programs, as
will the Territory’s first dedicated Marine Laboratory.
Governor Tauese Sunia told OIA Director Nikolao Pula that he was very excited about this grant award, which will play a big role in protecting American Samoa’s marine resources.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED