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Fisheries Service approves American Samoa Marine Conservation Plan

National Marine Fisheries Service logo

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The US National Marine Fisheries Service has approved American Samoa’s Marine Conservation Plan (MCP), which was submitted early last month by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

The latest FMCP, which NMFS says satisfies the requirements of the federal Magnuson-Stevens Act, is valid for three years from July 25, 2018 through July 24, 2021. The new MCP supersedes the MCP previously approved for the period April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2018.

In a July 9, 2018 letter which includes the new MCP, the governor explained that the latest Plan contains objectives and priorities aimed to maximize sustainable fisheries benefits through fisheries infrastructure and development for the people of American Samoa “and with anticipated bolstering of its economy while preserving the Fa’asamoa”.

Additionally, the MCP recognizes and supports fisheries research and traditional knowledge to support fisheries policies.

“We have specified the top priorities for funding,” he said, and explained that the “objectives and priorities have been developed with our present needs in mind and are consistent” with requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act

There are 11 projects listed under the MCP, which states that these projects encompass aspects of fisheries research, management, and development, education and outreach and enforcement.

Of the 11 projects, two of them are placed in the “very high priority” level:

•    Enhancement of fishing infrastructure (e.g. docks, ramps, moorings, ice machines, fish storage, processing facilities, and fish markets); and

•    Enhancement of fisheries development in Manua (reviving the fishermen’s coops, repair of 'alia boats and replacing the ice machines, developing the fish storage/holding facilities and shipment of fish for local markets.)

Seven of the projects are placed under the “high” priority level and the rest are “medium” priority level.

Details of American Samoa’s latest MCP, which was approved Aug. 17th with details released publicly last week can be viewed at: <www.regulations