Scientists from Samoa, United States and American Samoa are gearing up for a joint research project that will survey fish species, coral reefs, and collect oceanographic data around the Samoan Archipelago.
Yesterday, research participants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F), and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) gathered at Palolo Deep for their physical fitness test in order to go onboard the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel and be part of the project.
The scientific objectives of this project are to:
1) support current bio-sampling efforts by collecting juvenile and adult stage deep-slope and shallow-water bottomfish (snappers, groupers), coastal pelagic fishes and coral reef fishes for life history studies,
2) collect eggs and the larval and juvenile stages of pelagic fish and bottomfish and information on the associated oceanography to further understanding of stock structure, distribution, transport, pelagic duration, and connectivity, and
3) map sea grass beds and deploy temperature loggers around Manono Island.
4) conduct coral bleaching surveys around Upolu and Savai’i,
5) monitor and conduct fish surveys at Samoa nearshore and offshore fish aggregating devices (FADs).
The project is spearheaded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (N.O.A.A) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and also includes participants from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, American Samoa Department of Marine and Natural Resources, M.A.F, M.N.R.E, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.