National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
A clownfish among the anemones at the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
The Sanctuary Visitor Center
The Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1986 in response to a request from the government of American Samoa to the National Marine Sanctuary Program. In the late 1970's millions of crown-of-thorns starfish ate their way through the coral reefs surrounding Tutuila Island. That caused the destruction of more than 90% of living corals in the area. That disaster prompted the push to create the sanctuary.
The sanctuary as originally established only included parts of Fagatele Bay in the 160 acres. The sanctuary was expanded several times over the years since, the last expansion changing the name to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa and including several non-contiguous parcels of emergent land and submerged reefs in the region. The protected area now extends from the Swain's Island area in the northwest to Rose Atoll in the southeast.
A sunset view at the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
Other photos and map courtesy of NOAA