Deal to conserve 30 per cent of Samoa's ocean
Samoa this weekend signed a groundbreaking new agreement to conserve 30 per cent of its ocean area and sustain its resources for the long-term.
Some 36,000 square kilometres of new fully-protected Marine Protected Areas inside Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone is expected to result from the agreement.
The partnership between the Government and the Blue Prosperity Coalition - a network of scientists, activists, experts, and governments - and environmental advocacy group Conservation International was announced this weekend.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the parties is focused on preserving and creating a future Blue Economy, to help guard the community’s long-term use of the nation’s fisheries resources.
“Samoa is a large ocean state. Ninety-eight percent of our domain is ocean. Our waters hold exceptional marine habitats, from seamounts to biodiverse coral reefs, mangroves, and oceanic basins.,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Dr. Malielegaoi and the acting Minister of Natural Resources of Environment.
“The Samoa Ocean Strategy will ensure the effective management and conservation of these rich waters, not only for a resilient and prosperous Samoa now, but for generations to come.”
The partnership will work toward the implementation of the Samoa Ocean Strategy, a set of goals established to plan and manage Samoa’s entire ocean, marine inland waters, territorial sea, and seabed for the coming decade.
The partnership intends to support the implementation of the Samoa Ocean Strategy, which is designed to protect ecological habitats, marine wildlife, and cultural heritage while safeguarding important sources of food, income and economic growth.
The Founder of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, American billionaire philanthropist and conservationist, Ted Waitt, lauded Samoa for taking the initiative to protect its ocean resources to secure their future use by Samoans.
“The comprehensive Samoa Ocean Strategy is an ambitious effort to ensure Samoa can use its marine resources without using them up; in fact, developing in a way that allows those resources to flourish,” he said.
The Samoa Ocean Strategy will guide and track Samoa’s goals for integrated planning and management of its ocean domain over the next decade and it will also serve as an integration tool to combine implementation and management of Sustainable Development Goals, regional policies, and international commitments that concern the marine environment.
Another of Mr. Waitt’s conservation vehicles, the Waitt Institute, will lead the Blue Prosperity Coalition’s contribution working in partnership with Conservation International and the Government
The institute says the process will equally be driven by science and community-based evidence.
The project will create new inshore and offshore marine protected areas which will preserve commercially important coastal habitats, fish stocks, migratory routes for marine mammals, and deep-sea ecosystems.
Only 2.4% of Samoa’s entire territory is land mass, which is split between the two main islands, Savai’i and Upolu, and eight small islets.
Samoa currently has three marine protected areas and 75 villages have community-based management systems for whales, dolphins, turtles and sharks.
"Congratulations to the large ocean nation of Samoa, who today issued its strategy to safeguard the long-term health and well-being of its ocean and its communities. We at the Waitt Institute are thrilled to have the opportunity to support Samoa in its efforts to achieve comprehensive ocean management and large-scale marine protection," said Dr Kathryn Mengerink JD, Executive Director of the Waitt Institute.