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Socioeconomic monitoring of village MPAs in American Samoa


Project Manager:
Arielle Levine
Project Years:
Project Summary:
The aim of this project is to work with American Samoa’s Community-based Fisheries Management Program (CFMP) to formalize their socioeconomic monitoring program. Traditionally, villages in American Samoa controlled exclusive rights to manage their nearshore marine resources, but these resources are coming under increasing threat from fishing, land-based sources of pollution, and climate impacts. The CFMP was established in 2001 as means to strengthen the capacity of village communities to manage their own resources with the assistance and legal backing of the American Samoan government.Villages in the program manage their marine resources through the establishment of village marine protected areas (VMPAs). The CFMP now works with 12 villages in American Samoa and has established legally approved management plans in most of these communities. Although not without challenges, previous monitoring data found that village approval rates for the program are high. Some communities have opted to increase the extent or duration of their VMPAs with the support of DMWR.Because the CFMP is reliant on community participation and support, it is important to understand how communities use marine resources, compliance with local regulations, and community understanding of and support for VMPAs. A preliminary CRCP-funded socioeconomic survey was conducted in 10 CFMP villages in 2013. While this survey provided useful insight for the program regarding community awareness of VMPAs and support for the program, the sample sizes were inadequate to accurately assess village differences or to analyze results at the individual village level. Also, two new CFMP villages (Fagasa and Faga’alu) have joined the program since the time of the last study. This project would build upon previous surveys to develop and formalize a protocol and sampling scheme for socioeconomic monitoring for the CFMP program that would ensure that needed information is being collected reliably, in a way that can inform management and can track progress over time. It would also contribute to the assessment of MPA effectiveness in American Samoa.This project will build upon the outcomes and lessons learned from the project “Baseline socio-economic assessment for MPA villages and watershed management areas” to establish a survey and sampling framework that can be utilized for long-term socioeconomic assessment and monitoring. We will first meet with CFMP and DMWR program managers, as well as CRAG’s MPA coordinator, to determine monitoring priorities for the CFMP program and for MPAs in American Samoa. We will then develop a survey that can assess and monitor these priorities over time, and a sampling framework that will allow the program to analyze results at the individual village level. Next, the survey would be implemented in all 12 CFMP villages, which includes the priority sites of Vatia and Faga’alu. We would then assist in data analysis and interpretation, and formalize a long term monitoring plan. The data gathered from this study will also be incorporated into the summary metrics and outreach tool developed through the project “Linking local and national monitoring data to test for marine protected area effectiveness in American Samoa, ” (proposed by Adel Heenan, CRED).
Expected Outcome:
Expected outcomes include:1. A workshop to determine CFMP priorities for socioeconomic monitoring, with clear links to assessing MPA effectiveness in the territory.2. A survey instrument and monitoring protocol for long-term socioeconomic monitoring for the CFMP.3. Surveys implemented in 12 CFMP villages, including the newly established VMPA sites in Fagamalo and Faga’alu.4. A final report detailing survey instrument, methods, and outcomes that can be used to inform CFMP management efforts, assess the effectiveness of MPAs in the CFMP program in American Samoa, and will provide a template and protocol for future CFMP monitoring efforts. 
Project Locations:
  • American Samoa
Jursdiction Priority Sites:
  • Vatia
  • Faga’alu
Project Category:
Project Type:
Project Status:
Funding Ended
Associated Products:

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