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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2012

Contact:
Gene Brighouse (684)-633-7792
Sarah Marquis, NOAA (949) 222-2212

NOAA Releases Fagatele Bay Sanctuary Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement

NOAA officials today released a final management plan and environmental impact statement that guides future activities and outlines the addition of five marine areas at Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The five additional areas are Fagalua/Fogama'a (also known as Larsen Bay), waters around Muliāva (also known as Rose Atoll), and additional waters around Swains Island, Aunu'u Island and Ta'u Island. These waters include some of the oldest and largest known corals in the world.

The revised management plan, prepared in conjunction with the American Samoan government, is a result of an extensive review process which involved scientific assessment, public comment, community meetings and consultation with local village and government leaders. NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries co-manages the sanctuary with the American Samoa Government and works closely with communities adjacent to the sanctuary, all within the context of Samoan cultural traditions and practices.

The final management plan, combined with a final environmental impact statement, also updates the site's original management plan and identifies new regulations for greater resource protection. The plan describes the sanctuary's goals and guiding principles, regulations and boundaries, and guides future activities. It also proposes changing of the name of the sanctuary to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

NOAA anticipates issuing the final rule implementing these changes and associated regulations by late July in the Federal Register. The rule is expected to go into effect by the end of the year. Copies of the new management plan and environmental impact statement can be obtained by calling (684) 633-5155 ext. 264, or downloaded from the sanctuary's website.

Designated in 1986, Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary has protected and preserved a quarter-square-mile fringing coral reef ecosystem nestled within an eroded volcanic crater on the southern coast of Tutuila, American Samoa. The sanctuary is uniquely rich in both natural resources and cultural heritage and home to a wide variety of animals and plants that thrive in the bay's protected waters.

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Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary


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