3 Nov 2009

American Samoan coral damage reassessed

3:45 pm on 3 November 2009

The damage to the territory's coral reefs as a result of the September tsunami is not as bad as expected.

An initial survey has identified only a handful of areas where there was significant damage. These include Fagaitua, Fagaalu, Fagatele Bay, Vatia and Leone.

A marine biologist at the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, Douglas Fenner, says there were several other spots that was lightly damaged.

The Department has a clean up crew scouring the beaches, reef flats and reef slopes to pick up debris.

Alice Lawrence, who heads the team, says they are collecting everything from trophies, to dishes, roofing iron, stereos, chairs and clothing.

She says the trash is wrapped tightly around the coral beds suffocating them, and they need to be removed in order for the coral to grow.

The coral reef clean up is funded by the Governor's Coral reef Advisory group.