Amid the increase in negative impacts on the ocean, Samoa is among the first 72 Global Ocean Alliance countries implementing the 30x30 initiative – to protect 30% of their ocean by 2030. The Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) is one of 13 Integrated Management Solutions (IMS) under the Samoa Ocean Strategy (SOS), the national ocean framework of the country.
The MSP, also known as the Ocean Plan, provides specific protocols for proper utilization of Samoa's ocean; to ensure there are enough areas for fishing and daily activities and to prioritize 30% of EEZ to be protected by 2030 in ways of 11 different scattered No Take Zones (NTZ). These are marine protected areas (MPAs) designed to help prevent fishers from overfishing in offshore areas, which as a result help in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, and fisheries, around Samoa.
After the 1st Phase of MSP Consultations conducted from August 2021 to March 2022, five published reports were officially launched on 2 September 2022, in the presence of His. Honorable Minister of Natural Resources & Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, His Associate Minister, Hon. Faleomavaega Titimaea Tafua, various local Government stakeholders, the IUCN team from Fiji, key stakeholders – NGOs, CSOs, IGOs, academia & private sectors – and the Conservation International Samoa.
"These reports are invaluable to the MSP process. Together with the information generated during the nationwide consultations, these will best inform and focus the development of the MSP for Samoa. Again, MNRE acknowledges the financial and technical support provided by our partners – the EU, IUCN, SUNGO, Conservation International, and the Waitt Institute to work alongside our Division of Environment and Conservation to realize these important MSP products," - Assistant Chief Executive Officer, DEC Division, Seumaloisalafai Afele Faiilagi.
Conservation International has worked alongside the Government of Samoa, through the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, to support integrating ocean management through the SOS.
The five published reports are titled: Biophysically Special and Unique Marine Areas of Samoa, Samoa Marine Ecosystem Service Valuation as well as its Summary Report, Marine Bioregions of Samoa, and a Law and Policy Review, together with the Phase One of the MSP Consultation Report. This was made possible with the financial support of IUCN and the European Union.
© Conservation International photos by Maryanne Lesatele
Additionally, an awareness campaign was also launched. Prior to the 2nd Phase of consultations anticipated to start this month, September, raising awareness and publicizing the MSP through marketing on buses and government-owned vehicles will aid in promoting and socializing this initiative.
© Conservation International photo by Nolani Hazelman
This moment marks a significant milestone not only for Samoa but for Conservation International, a landmark of CI's commitment and a long-term partnership between our organization and the government.
CI Samoa continues to support the implementation of each Integrated Management Solution (IMS) under the SOS for the next eight years. In addition, it is financially supporting the 2nd Phase of the MSP nationwide consultation commencing this month.
About the Samoa Ocean Strategy:
The Samoa Ocean Strategy, or SOS, is the national policy framework that seeks to sustainably manage Samoa's vast ocean and marine resources for the well-being of all Samoans now and into the future. The SOS provides bold and comprehensive integrated ocean management solutions that will advance ocean stewardship and ensure the cultural and economic values that Samoans derive from their 120,000 square kilometer ocean are preserved for generations to come. For more information, visit www.samoaocean.org or follow us on Facebook.