The American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono has signed an executive order banning the catching of rare marine species including sharks from the territory's waters.
The executive order was announced at last week's meeting of the US Coral Reef Task Force in Pago Pago.
Governor Togiola says it is based on the advice of marine scientists and fisheries managers under the leadership of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.
"These species are so depleted that any further loss will threaten their survival in our waters in our territory. A recent study found that American Samoa only has 48 percent of the sharks that it should. And this executive order I have just signed was put in place to help protect and preserve these central, keystone species."
Togiola Tulafono says the ban covers all species of sharks and humphead wrasse fish and bumphead parrotfish.