|Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary Official Site||June 19, 2013|
About the Sanctuary
Management Plan Review
Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary Management
Fagatele Bay contains a pristine coral reef that represents an outstanding example of an Indo-Pacific coral reef ecosystem. Home to hundreds of species of fish, corals and other reef denizens, Fagatele Bay also bears the scars of recent and severe natural disasters.
Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary (FBNMS) encompasses the 0.25 square miles of the bay. The land surrounding the bay belongs to families who have lived near the bay's slopes for thousands of years. Fortunately, there is little development in the watershed and the one reliable stream that empties near the beach runs clear and clean.
Superintendent Gene Brighouse leads the FBNMS team that includes Deputy Superintendent Kevin Grant, education/outreach coordinator Apulu Veronika Mata'utia Mortenson, and special projects coordinator Emily Gaskin. The American Samoa Department of Commerce co-manages the site with the federal government under the leadership of Director Faleseu Paopao and Deputy Director Lelei Peau.
The Sanctuary program continues to nurture its relationship with the landowners and trusts that the aiga (families) will extend their stewardship to the coral reef (traditionally part of their communal lands). In addition, the FBNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council works closely with management to provide counsel, advice and support.
The sanctuary uses other management tools to protect the resources. Education, research, regulation and enforcement fill the "toolbox" of sanctuary management. Each of these tools must be used appropriately. Public awareness, too, plays a major role in management; the sanctuary periodically publishes posters, brochures and other print media, distributes t-shirts and other types of "advertising". TV and radio for announcements and news interviews help to get our messages out, too. Enforcement works best with a knowledgeable, sympathetic and cooperative public. Ideally, if the resource users support the program goals, there will be little need for a strong enforcement presence.
As managers of the natural resources at Fagatele Bay, there is little we can do in the face of natural disasters. The September 2009 tsunami that devastated much of the island's shoreline is the latest example of nature's power. However, the sanctuary's role becomes vital in reducing the human-caused impacts. Fagatele Bay is protected by regulations (download below) from destructive types of fishing including dynamite fishing and the traditional poison fishing (futu or 'ava niukini). In addition, spearfishing and fixed nets are also prohibited, and all invertebrates-including the crown-of-thorns starfish-are protected. NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and local Department of Marine and Wildlife conservation officers share responsibility for enforcing the regulations at the sanctuary. Local landowners are also partners with FBNMS in enforcement-they are our eyes and ears at the site.
Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary Program will continue to blend marine education, research and enforcement into an effective management package that preserves the natural and cultural resources of this special place for the Samoan community, visitors and the American people.
Web Site Owner: Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Revised June 20, 2011
by Sanctuaries Web Group
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