A sanctuary advisory council is a community-based advisory group consisting of representatives from various user groups, government agencies and the public at large. The role of the council is to provide advice to the sanctuary superintendent on the operation of a national marine sanctuary. All fourteen sites in the sanctuary system have an advisory council.
The American Samoa sanctuary advisory council was established in 2005. The advisory council is an effective body for drawing in public participation and building a shared understanding of sanctuary management through open discussion and collaborative efforts. The advisory council is instrumental in providing guidance on the future direction of the sanctuary.
The Director of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries appoints advisory council members in consultation with the Director of the American Samoa Department of Commerce. The advisory council is composed of 14 voting members and eight non-voting members (see table below). Advisory council members serve as a broad cross-section of the communities adjacent to the sanctuary. Community-at-large seats include representatives from the east and west sides of Tutuila Island, as well as from the Manu’a islands and Swains Island.
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries regards the involvement of communities and the development of a stewardship ethic as vitally important to successfully protect sanctuary resources. One key way to achieve this involvement is the formation of councils. Therefore, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is committed to the full support, utilization, and enhancement of councils at all sanctuaries.
Contact the Sanctuary Advisory Council Coordinator if you would like more information about the council, or to reach one of its members.
|SANCTUARY ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS|
|Research||Student Member (age 14-25)|
|Commercial Fishing|| |
|Ocean Recreation|| |
|Community-at-large (4 seats)|| |
|American Samoa Department of Commerce - Resource Division||NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE)|
|American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources||NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO)|
|American Samoa Community College/Sea Grant||National Park Service of American Samoa|
|American Samoa-Environmental Protection Agency||Sanctuary Superintendent|
| ||ONMS Pacific Regional Director|
| ||U.S. Coast Guard|
The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa is currently accepting applications for new members to sit on the advisory council! If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an application.
To date, the advisory council has established four working groups consisting of sanctuary staff, members of the advisory council, and members of the public.
Site Selection (currently inactive)
The Site Selection Working Group utilized National Marine Sanctuaries Act criteria to evaluate the ecological, cultural, and economic value of nine marine areas that the public had proposed as potential new sanctuary units and made recommendations about which areas should be considered for sanctuary designation during sanctuary management plan review. In 2012, NOAA considered these recommendations, as well as other factors, and incorporated into the sanctuary five additional areas beyond Fagatele Bay.
The Education Working Group developed education and outreach programs to teach relevant stakeholders about the value of marine conservation in American Samoa. During management plan review, this working group also helped to develop education programs for the villages adjacent to potential new sanctuary units and coordinated presentations for the Office of Samoan Affairs about the value of a larger national marine sanctuary presence in American Samoa.
Research and Monitoring
The Research and Monitoring Working Group developed a detailed sanctuary science needs assessment. This information helped guide the development of the 2012 management plan’s Marine Conservation Science Action Plan and will be crucial in the development of the Sanctuary Science Plan (see management plan Activity MCS 1.2).
The Community Engagement Working Group helps provide advice on: better incorporating Samoan culture into sanctuary management, developing a sanctuary Cultural Resources Program, and developing a maritime heritage and cultural resource protection plan (as per the 2012 management plan’s Cultural Heritage and Community Engagement Action Plan activities CH&CE 1.1, 1.2 and 4.6).