[Coral-List] American Samoa now protects all sharks plus 3 large coral reef fish species
greta at hawaii.edu
Fri Nov 16 20:05:04 EST 2012
I would also like to add a huge "Thank you" to Doug Fenner! He put a
tremendous and unflagging effort in getting this passed. I hope more
island states, including Hawaii, become as proactive as American Samoa!
On Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Douglas Fenner <
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd just like to add that credit for the new regulations in American Samoa
> go to a lot of people, first and foremost the governor, Togiola Tulafono,
> and the director of Marine & Wildlife, Ray Tulafono. They made the
> decision to do this, and it would not have happened without them.
> Many people in the territory helped with this, and a team from the Pew
> Charitable Trusts campaigned here in support of doing this, for which we
> are most grateful. There is more on the new regulations on their website,
> Dept. Marine & Wildlife Resources, American Samoan Government
> PO Box 7390
> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
> On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM, Douglas Fenner <
> douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
> > **American Samoa protects all sharks, plus three species of large coral
> > reef fish in its waters*
> > The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources has promulgated new
> > regulations protecting these rare marine species which took effect on
> > November 11, 2012. American Samoa has acted to protect all sharks plus
> > three species of large coral reef fish in all the waters of the territory
> > of American Samoa. It is now illegal to catch or even possess:
> > 1. Humphead Wrasse;
> > 2. Bumphead Parrotfish;
> > 3. Giant Grouper; or
> > 4. any species of shark anywhere in the territory
> > or territorial waters.
> > Territorial waters extend 3 nautical miles from the shoreline. All sizes
> > and ages and any parts are fully protected, at all times, everywhere in
> > territory. These regulations are the most powerful protection for sharks
> > in the USA, and provide the only protection for the other three reef fish
> > within the USA, except for where all fish are protected.
> > Because possession of all parts of these species is illegal, shark fins
> > are illegal in the territory, including transshipping sharks or fins.
> > none of these fish can be brought into the territory, the protection of
> > this regulation may extend to nearby waters where fishers would bring
> > catch into the territory. These fish were protected first with an
> > Executive Order of the Governor, and then additionally by these newly
> > adopted fishing regulations by the Dept. Marine & Wildlife Resources.
> > A recent scientific paper published by NOAA’s CRED division in Hawaii
> > estimated that the territory has just 4-8% of the sharks it would have if
> > there were no people (Nadon et al. 2012). Reef sharks are slow growing,
> > late maturing, and produce very few pups each year, and thus can not
> > sustain anything but the lightest fishing pressure. The primary reason
> > for the low number of sharks is fishing, though other effects of human
> > activities, like sediment, nutrient and chemical runoff may contribute by
> > damaging fish habitat, and the number of fish is also affected by the
> > amount of juvenile habitat. Our Marine Protected Areas are too small to
> > protect sharks, they swim over large areas and will swim outside the MPAs
> > and can be caught.
> > There used to be a few schools of bumphead parrotfish here, but now only
> > about one fish per year is sighted, and they appear to be close to local
> > extinction. Spear fishing using lights at night is especially effective
> > at taking these parrotfish, because they sleep together on the bottom in
> > school in the same place every night. Bumpheads have been driven to
> > local extinction on some islands in Fiji, something we want to avoid
> > Humphead wrasse are less common here than many places where there are no
> > people. Giant groupers and some kinds of sharks appear to be naturally
> > rare here and elsewhere. If the last ones are caught, they could become
> > locally extinct, and we want to avoid that by protecting them.
> > All these fish are large, reaching 4 feet or more in length and 100-600
> > pounds, depending on the species. Fishing usually removes the largest
> > fish first. There is direct evidence from a NOAA CRED study that islands
> > in the US Pacific, including American Samoa, which have people have fewer
> > big fish than islands without people, while populated islands have just
> > many small fish as unpopulated islands (Williams et al. 2011).
> > American Samoa is now a world leader in protecting its large coral reef
> > fish species. The American Samoa Government has adopted these new
> > regulations to help fish populations recover to help create a balanced
> > ecosystem which includes sustainable fishing yields and supports
> > traditional cultural practices which are important locally. The largest
> > coral reef fish are overfished on most coral reefs around the world where
> > people are near, making this a widespread problem. Overfishing is one of
> > the largest effects people have on reefs and can leave reefs vulnerable
> > masses of algae growing over the coral. Large fish are very attractive
> > for scuba divers, and scuba diving tourism is a major income earner for
> > small tropical island countries. In a few places like Palau, shark
> > diving tourism is a major part of the economy. Dive tourism is
> > non-consumptive, and where it is feasible, can provide much greater local
> > economic benefits than fishing.
> > Nadon, M.C., Baum, J.K., Williams, I.D., McPherson, J.M., Zglicynski,
> > B.J., Richards, B.L., Schroeder, R.E., Brainard, R.E. Brainard, R.E.
> > 2012. Re-creating missing population baselines for Pacific Reef Sharks..
> > Biology 26: 493-503.
> > Williams, I., Richards, B.M., Sandin, S.A., Baum, J.K., Schroeder, R.E.,
> > Nadon, M.O., Zgliczynski, B., Craig, P., McIlwain, J.L., Brainard, R.E.
> > 2011. Differences in reef fish assemblages between populated and remote
> > reefs spanning multiple archipelagos across the Central and West Pacific.
> > Journal of Marine Biology 2011: 1-14.
> > ----------
> > Douglas Fenner
> > Dept. Marine & Wildlife Resources, American Samoan Government
> > PO Box 7390
> > Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
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