Honolulu-- The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved American Samoa's three-year marine conservation plan, which outlines the U.S. territory's objectives and priorities to maximize sustainable fisheries.
The plan, which was approved Aug. 6, is effective July 25, 2021 through July 24, 2024.
Fishing activities constitute an integral part of the Samoan culture and fisheries development is important for the food security and economic stability of the territory’s 55,000 inhabitants.
American Samoa's conservation plan contains the following conservation and management objectives:
Maximize social and economic benefits through sustainable fisheries.
Support quality scientific research to assess and manage fisheries.
Promote an ecosystem approach in fisheries management.
Recognize the importance of island culture and traditional fishing in managing fishery resources and foster opportunities for participation.
Promote education and outreach activities and regional collaboration regarding fisheries conservation.
Encourage the development of technologies and methods to achieve the most effective level of enforcement and to ensure safety at sea.
Several projects were ranked as very high priority, such as fishing infrastructure improvements to docks and ramps, reviving fishermen’s co-ops and developing fish storage and holding facilities in Manu‘a, and conducting a comprehensive economic valuation of tuna fisheries to the American Samoa economy.
Projects funded under previous MCPs include bottomfish data collection efforts, purchase and installation of large capacity ice machines to provide fresh fish for sale locally and export, and the Malaloa dock extension to support the longline fishery, among others.
U.S. regulation allows Specified Fishing Agreements that offer a portion of a U.S. participating territory's fishing quota in exchange for funds to support projects in the territory's marine conservation plan.
At its June 2021 meeting, the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council reviewed the plan and confirmed its consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and applicable fishery ecosystem plans.