NOAA recently issued the most comprehensive biogeographic assessment of the Samoa Archipelago to date. It identified 51 regional areas of high coral and fish abundance and found that less than 10 percent of coral reef ecosystems in the archipelago are located in marine protected areas. The report provides valuable marine resource data for the current Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s (NMS) management plan review, which you can see here.
The report examines the regional ocean climate, distribution of reef fish and coral communities, and the biological connectivity among the islands of Samoa, American Samoa, and their island neighbors as well as the extent of existing marine conservation areas.
Additional findings include:
- Identification of key sites not represented in the existing marine protected area network,
- The interconnectivity of larval coral and fish between the islands of the U.S. territory of American Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa are connected, and
- A 0.5 degrees Celsius (32.9 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in the area’s sea surface temperature over the past 20 years.