NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program : project progress report FY2011/12
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NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program : project progress report FY2011/12

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  • Alternative Title:
    Project progress report FY2011/12, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
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  • Description:
    "In 2005 the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) initiated a comprehensive long-term monitoring program for the reefs in American Samoa, the American Samoa Coral Reef Monitoring Program (ASCRMP). Funding was provided through the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Ocean Services (NOS). Although there have been previous monitoring surveys in American Samoa covering a variety of spatial and temporal scales, the ASCRMP represents the first attempt to annually monitor representative reefs in American Samoa, starting initially around Tutuila and eventually in the Manua islands and the two atolls, Rose and Swains. The program has been set up with long-term government funding, and is therefore capable of accumulating long-term data sets annually over a larger geographic scale. The primary objectives of the American Samoa Coral Reef Monitoring Program are to: (1) Monitor the status and trends in the distribution and abundance of reef biota on reefs in American Samoa, and (2) Provide environmental managers, as well as other decision makers, with information that is pertinent to managing coral reefs in the territory. As a monitoring program, ASCRMP's goal is to document change - i.e. where, how much, and what kind of changes take place at the various monitoring sites. The ideal is to resolve change at scales which will allow judgments to be made as to which changes are within normal, natural variability, and which are outside it. The project is coordinated by two staff members that are funded by the program; during FY2011 and FY2012 the Coral Reef Monitoring Benthic Ecologist position was filled by Dr. Doug Fenner and the Coral Reef Monitoring Fish Ecologist position was filled by Ben Carroll. During the last quarter of FY2012. Mr. Benjamin Carroll s contract was not renewed by the then director Ufagafa Ray Tulafono. The DMWR s Chief Fisheries Biologist filled in Mr. Carroll's duties, where possible up until the end of January 2013 when the position was filled part time by DMWR fisheries supervisor Alice Lawrence and part-time by DMWR fisheries technician Saolotoga Tofaeono. The position was filled full-time by Alice Lawrence from the end of January 2014 until the present time. The program utilizes the DMWR Boston Whaler vessel to access survey sites around Tutuila, however the boat was out of action between January 2012 and October 2012 and between January 2013 and October 2013, and again between January 2014 and November 2014. There were attempts to utilize local fishing boats to conduct surveys with varying success, due to problems with late payments, safety issues and logistics related to the smaller and slower engines used by the local fishing boats"--Project Background.
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