Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary
2007 Condition Report

Photo of a turtle under water

Concluding Remarks

american soman practicing sa
An American Samoa community practicing "Sa," a time when activities in the village stop for a period of reflection and prayer. Village men in maroon "lava lavas" stand along the road to signal passing vehicles to drive slowly and pedestrians to sit in respect of this tradition. This practice symbolizes the resilience of Samoan culture. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary's place in American Samoa is also a symbol of this resiliency by showing the "Samoan way" of respect and stewardship for their marine environment. (Photo: Bill Kiene)

Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary is at an important period in its history. The sanctuary staff will soon begin a process to review its management plan. This opportunity will redefine the sanctuary's role and renew its place as a vital part of American Samoa's coastal and marine conservation efforts. It will also make the Fagatele Bay sanctuary a key component of the National Marine Sanctuary System's effort to better understand, protect and utilize the nation's marine environment.

Research and monitoring efforts in partnership with local and international researchers will continue to chart the path of Fagatele Bay's recovery and response to natural and human caused disruptions to its ecosystem. These studies will also help assess and guide future management actions designed to preserve the sanctuary's resources.

One of the most important aspects of the Fagatele Bay sanctuary is its location in American Samoa, where the Samoan people have a unique relationship to their land, sea and cultural traditions. Fagatele Bay can become part of this relationship by serving as a catalyst for revitalizing the bond between the Samoan people and their marine resources. For example, Samoan customs have been resilient to modern social change. This cultural resilience is exemplified in the tradition of "Sa" practiced by Samoan villages. It is a time of pause during the day for prayer and quiet reflection on how to improve their life and environment, indicating the high level of respect that American Samoa communities have for their traditions. Incorporating such practices into the management of Fagatele Bay could make the sanctuary a symbol for "fa'asamoa" (the Samoan way) of marine stewardship.