Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Date of Submission: 30/01/2008
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
U.S. Department of Interior
State, Province or Region:
American Samoa
Coordinates: S14 21 53.769 W170 45 51.14
Ref.: 5251
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Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects 66 hectares (163 acres) of bay area on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa.  It does not include immediately adjacent shorelands.  The Marine Sanctuary comprises a fringing coral reef ecosystem within an eroded volcanic crater.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Fagatele Bay contains a vast array of tropical marine organisms, including corals, marine mammals, and threatened and endangered species including hawksbill and green sea turtles.  The Bay is a vibrant tropical reef marine ecosystem, filled with populations of coral reef fish and marine invertebrates.  The scenic beauty of the bay and its surroundings are also exceptional.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The reefs of Fagatele Bay are intact and are outstanding examples of a mid-South Pacific coral reef ecosystem.  They have recovered naturally from natural and human disturbances.  The introduction of non-native marine organisms is possible, but the relative isolation of Fagatele Bay makes the potential of humans to cause such an event small.  The sanctuary has a strong monitoring program in place to identify and respond to any threats to the site's integrity. 

Comparison with other similar properties

It is recommended that other marine sites, including adjacent shorelines in American Samoa, in independent Samoa and in other nearby island nations, be reviewed with an eye to possibly developing a serial nomination including sites in more than one country.  The National Park of American Samoa should also be reviewed in such a study.

It will also be essential to review any sites selected for both natural and cultural aspects, i.e., as mixed sites, or they should at least in each case be examined for potential cultural merits.