Governor Of American Samoa and Artist Wyland Sign Declaration of Reef Rights
Two more prominent and important people have joined the ranks of those who
have signed the Declaration of Reef Rights and pledged to take action to protect
reefs: Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono of American Samoa and marine artist
Wyland. Both signed the declaration as part of American Samoa’s activities to
celebrate both the International Year of the Reef 2008 and Wyland’s new marine
life mural at the Executive Office Building in Utulei.
During the ceremony, Governor Tulafono said, "I know firsthand the importance
of coral reefs locally, regionally and internationally. By signing this
declaration, I hope to inspire others to join us in our conservation efforts to
protect our coral reef ecosystems."
American Samoa is the location of
Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the smallest and most remote of
America's National Marine Sanctuaries and home to a diverse assortment of marine
life including 271 species of fish and more than 200 species of coral. The
Sanctuary is an integral part of American Samoa as it helps to enforce the
relationship between Samoan people and their land, sea, and cultural
Globally, coral reefs and associated fisheries have declined
dramatically over the past 20 years with some 20% of reefs damaged or killed.
The Governor's Coral Reef Advisory Group has identified four key threats to
American Samoa's coral reef ecosystems and has targeted them with Local Action
Strategies: population pressure, land-based sources of pollution, overfishing
and global climate change. American Samoa's Local Action Strategies are the
result of a continuing process incorporating input from territorial agencies,
non-profit groups, interested individuals, stakeholder groups and federal agency
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