A matai in Futiga village in American Samoa is calling on the public to unite against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's proposal to expand the Fagatele National Marine Sanctuary.
Tuifaleamato Ropati Tagovailoa says the territory faces challenging economic times due to high unemployment and escalating cost of living.
He says with little or no income for food and shelter people depend on fish for survival.
Tuifaleamato says the reefs are critical to the people's survival and governments have a duty to preserve fa'a Samoa and the traditional liftestyle of which fishing is a daily part.
He wants the proposal to expand the sanctuary to be put to voters so everyone has a say on the issue.