Stellwagen Map

Abstract
Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary is an isolated national marine sanctuary contained within a small, flooded volcanic crater on the southern coast of Tutuila, American Samoa. The site is uniquely rich in both natural resources and cultural heritage. Fagatele Bay and its fringing coral reef have experienced severe disruptions from cyclones, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, and more recently from coral bleaching and diseases (the causes of these are not fully understood). However, recovery has been remarkably swift in comparison to other coral reef ecosystems, and the bay's isolation from most direct human influences has kept it relatively unspoiled. The most significant threats to the reef from human activities include over-fishing, poaching (especially by blast-fishing and spearfishing at night), and land clearing for agricultural development. There are also concerns about the increasing visitors as tourism increases in American Samoa. More...

Fagatele Bay Sanctuary Condition Summary Table
By assuming that a common marine ecosystem framework can be applied to all places, the National Marine Sanctuary program developed a series of questions that are posed at all sites and used as evaluation criteria to assess resource condition and trends.

Q & A about Condition Reports

About This
Report

Abstract

What is System Wide Monitoring?

Site History and Resources

Pressures on the Sanctuary

State of Sanctuary Resources

Sanctuary Response

Concluding Remarks

Rating Scheme

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Questions/
Resources
Rating Basis For Judgement Description Findings Sanctuary Response
WATER
Are specific or multiple stressors, including changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, affecting water quality?
hyphen
Increasing number of warm-water events causing coral bleaching Selected conditions may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources and habitats. American Samoa and sanctuary regulations have been designed to prevent any reduction in water quality. Enterococcus bacterial concentrations are measured to assess how land development affects water quality. Staff are also proposing to assess the groundwater beneath the island landfill to determine if contaminants are being transported into the marine environment.
What is the eutrophic condition of sanctuary waters and how is it changing?
hyphen
Low nutrient levels, good water clarity; lack of fleshy algae Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or habitat quality.
Do sanctuary waters pose risks to human health?
?
No known risks Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect human health.
What are the levels of human activities that may influence water quality and how are they changing?
hyphen
Land clearing for agriculture, proximity of island landfill Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on water quality.
HABITAT
What are the abundance and distribution of major habitat types and how are they changing?
?
Resilient coral populations; destructive fishing activities, diseases present Selected habitat loss or alteration has taken place, precluding full development of living resources assemblages, but it is unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation in living resources or water quality. Regulations prohibit destructive activities, such as fishing and anchoring, that disturb or damage natural features. Mooring buoys were installed in 2006 to eliminate the need for anchoring
What is the condition of biologically structured habitats and how is it changing?
hyphen
Destructive events have not reduced biodiversity Selected habitat loss or alteration has taken place, precluding full development of living resources, but it is unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation in living resources or water quality.
What are the contaminant concentrations in sanctuary habitats and how are they changing?
hyphen
None identified Contaminants do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or water quality.
What are the levels of human activities that may influence habitat quality and how are they changing?
hyphen
Low visitation, but fishing impacts occur Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on habitat quality.
LIVING RESOURCES
What is the status of biodiversity and how is it changing?
hyphen
All species present, but some in low numbers Biodiversity appears to reflect pristine or near-pristine conditions and promotes ecosystem integrity (full community development and function). Regulations prohibit removing or disturbing marine invertebrates or plants. Most fishing gears are excluded from the sanctuary. Regulations by federal and state partners protect marine mammals, birds, and sea turtles from "take," disturbance and harm. Field assessments of coral and fish populations, coral diseases and other indicators of coral reef health are conducted.
What is the status of environmentally sustainable fishing and how is it changing?
hyphen
Fishing has removed large fish Extraction has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity.
What is the status of non-indigenous species and how is it changing?
hyphen
Some non-indigenous algae and invertebrates may be present Non-indigenous species are not suspected or do not appear to affect ecosystem integrity (full community development and function).
What is the status of key species and how is it changing?
hyphen
Reduced numbers and size of certain predatory fish species The reduced abundance of selected keystone species has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components, and reduce ecosystem integrity; or selected key species are at substantially reduced levels, and prospects for recovery are uncertain.
What is the condition or health of key species and how is it changing?
hyphen
Coral and coralline algae diseases The condition of selected key resources is not optimal, perhaps precluding full ecological function, but substantial or persistent declines are not expected.
What are the levels of human activities that may influence living resource quality and how are they changing?
?
Illegal and legal fishing continues to remove large fish Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.
MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
What is the integrity of known maritime archaeological resources and how is it changing?
N/A
No documented underwater archeological sites
N/A
Although no maritime archaeological artifacts have been identified in the sanctuary, regulations prohibit the removal, damage or disturbance of any historical or cultural resource within the sanctuary.
Do known maritime archaeological resources pose an environmental hazard and is this threat changing?
N/A
No documented underwater archeological sites
N/A
What are the levels of human activities that may influence maritime archaeological resource quality and how are they changing?
N/A
No documented underwater archeological sites
N/A

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