10 Jun 2013

Fishing ban area in American Samoa established

6:39 pm on 10 June 2013

A fishing ban within 12 nautical miles of the Rose Atoll National Monument in American Samoa is to come into force from the third of July.

The 12 nautical miles prohibition is among the final rule changes made by the United States National Marine Fisheries Service, following consultations with the Honolulu-based Western Pacific Fishery Management Council which deals with fishing around the reserve.

The Governor of American Samoa's Manu'a District, Misaalefua Hudson described the prohibited fishing zone around the atoll as the equivalent of the federal government prohibiting religious communion.

Mr Hudson says the ban is a disgrace on what he calls the natural birthright of Samoans.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has responded by saying the fishing ban is intended to help protect local bottom fish, the coral reef ecosystems, and pelagic resources.