A sanctuary management plan is a site-specific planning and management tool that describes the sanctuary's goals, objectives, regulations, and boundaries. It guides future activities, outlines staffing and budget needs, and sets priorities and performance measures for resource protection, research, and education programs. The sanctuary's previous management plan was written during the sanctuary designation process in 1984.
The current (2012) management plan is the result of a management plan review that NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries conducted from 2007 through 2012. It updates the vision, goals, and objectives of the sanctuary to better reflect the new paradigm of sanctuary management within the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. It also includes eight action plans that incorporate new and planned management strategies and activities designed to help achieve specific sanctuary goals, directly address current priority resource management issues, and guide sanctuary management over the next five to 10 years. Below is a list of the action plans and their primary objectives.
- Cultural heritage & community engagement action plan
To promote stewardship through active engagement of sanctuary communities while incorporating Samoan culture and protecting cultural heritage and maritime heritage resources.
- Marine conservation science action plan
To improve ecosystem-based management by providing a strong foundation of science and increasing knowledge of sanctuary marine ecosystems.
- Climate change action plan
To minimize and mitigate the impact from climate change events on coastal and marine ecosystems in sanctuary units.
- Operations and administration action plan
To outline the means and level of support necessary to successfully achieve sanctuary goals and implement the strategies and activities detailed in the other action plans.
- Ocean literacy action plan
To cultivate an informed public and enhance ocean stewardship by increasing public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of sanctuary resources in American Samoa.
- Resource protection & enforcement action plan
To reduce existing and potential resource threats, and to prevent adverse impacts to the ecosystem.
- Partnerships & interagency cooperation action plan
To foster and facilitate cooperation and coordination of planning and management actions.
- Program evaluation action plan
To effectively and efficiently incorporate performance measurement into sanctuary operations in order to determine the degree to which management actions are achieving sanctuary goals.
The management plan is accompanied by an environmental impact statement that evaluates the potential environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic impacts of the proposed sanctuary actions. It includes consideration of the impacts of changing the name from Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary to National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa; designating additional units to be included in the sanctuary; revising sanctuary regulations; and implementing new sanctuary action plans.