Renewed Marine Debris Coordination and Outreach in American Samoa
MARCH 27, 2023 — From March 6-10, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Pacific Island Regional team, Mark Manuel and Shanelle Naone, traveled to the island of Tutuila in American Samoa to meet with partners and students.
The intent of this trip was to reestablish and build relationships among marine debris stakeholders, collect information on local marine debris issues and priorities, and to meet with American Samoa Community College students. The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Pacific Island Regional team works to coordinate efforts to address marine debris across the Pacific Islands, including American Samoa.
While there the team conducted a Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project tutorial for American Samoa Community College students who are participating in Arizona State University’s alternative takeout container project. In addition to marine debris monitoring, these student interns will be conducting project outreach to their community. The Marine Debris Program team worked with students to discuss marine debris messaging best practices and brainstorm potential ideas for sharing project information to their community.
The Marine Debris Program is partnering with the National Park Service to create marine debris displays in parks across the country. The team visited the National Park of American Samoa and met with park staff at the visitor center to discuss potential ideas and locations for marine debris displays.
The team also met with NOAA colleagues from the Office of Coastal Management and the Office of National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. During a visit to the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center, they had the opportunity to learn about the education and outreach opportunities offered locally, and discussed potential areas for marine debris collaboration. The team also met with local partners like the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Port Administration who later provided a tour of the M/V Sili, an abandoned and derelict vessel in need of removal from Pago Pago Harbor.
Each stakeholder expressed interest in maintaining a dialogue around marine debris issues and related activities taking place in American Samoa. To meet this request, the Pacific Islands Regional team looks forward to establishing and hosting in bi-annual marine debris coordination call starting this summer.