II. FISHERY RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT IN SAMOA
C. Policies and institutional arrangements
1. EnvironmentThe process of incorporating environmental issues into the economic decision-making processes in Samoa was strongly influenced by multinational initiatives and the influence of environmentally oriented foreign aid on the top decision-makers.
One of the first conservation initiatives in the Pacific region was the ESCAP/UNEP/SPC South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. This project, working in association with ESCAP, UNEP, and the South Pacific Commission, generated interest in sustainable development at the highest levels of government. These officials were involved with the various meetings, workshops and briefs associated with forming regional conventions, such as the:
These conventions helped focus the attention of government leaders on specific environmental issues.
Assistance from a number of international organisations also helped generate a positive attitude toward sustainable development. Important programs have been supported by ESCAP, UNDP, UNEP, FAO, SPREP, SPC, USAID, AUSAID, ADB and international NGOs. All of these helped integrate environmental considerations into economic planning.
Table 4. Samoan environmental legislation
Land resources are administered by the DLSE (by which any public land can be protected to maintain soil and water) and the Taking of Lands Act 1964 (where the government can take or exchange land for public purposes).
The Division of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is the national focus for environmental activities and policy making. It is responsible for the development and management of protected areas. The DEC does not do environmental assessment or monitoring itself but relies on other sectors for specialist knowledge. The key concept at the DEC is working together with other agencies.
The Assistant Director of DEC is the Chair of the National Environment and Management Committee (see above).
The Public Works Department is responsible for the administration of water resources. The Water Act 1965 prohibits cultivation within 60 m of streams and provides for the expropriation of land to protect water and soil. It is also responsible for the control and monitoring of building standards through the Public Works Ordinance 1959 and the Board of Health Regulations. There are no provisions for planning requirements in the Ordinance.
The Department of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries and Meteorology (DAFFM) under the Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries Ordinance 1959 and the Forests Act of 1967 administers the conservation, resource management and exploitation of forests and promotes agricultural development. While DAFF has responsibility for the protection of the marine environment, the Fisheries Protection Act 1972 and the Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977 only limit foreign craft from fishing in the Samoan EEZ. No provisions exist for the conservation of marine resources. The Fisheries Act 1988 and the Fisheries Regulations 1995 provide for the conservation, management and development of fisheries and this includes corals.
The Fisheries Division conducts regular monitoring of commercially-sold fisheries products and export fisheries products. It conducts resource assessment surveys and does research on new fishing methods and equipment and on aquaculture in association with outside consultants and international organisations. There is a Fisheries Extension service to advise fishers on new technologies and encourage villages to set up local reserves and fishery management plans.
The O le Siosiomaga Society is a national environmental NGO based in Apia. Dedicated to the protection of Samoa's native flora and fauna, the NGO conducts public awareness and education programmes and lobbies government for action on key problem areas. They are active in school conservation projects and have two large-scale conservation area projects, which include the entire ecosystem from the marine areas to the cloud forests on the mountain peaks. They work closely with the Division of Environment and Conservation, Forestry Division and the Fisheries Division. It's core funding is from the Swedish Nature Conservation Society and memberships. SPREP has assisted with specific projects.
The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is based in Apia and provides environmental guidance and initiative to the Samoan Government. Samoa is not treated any differently than other countries in the region, but the international focus of environmental issues, combined with Samoan hospitality, tends to remind senior government leaders that the Samoan environment should be a model for other countries.
Objective 1. To increase the harvestable stocks of fish and other marine resources
Approve sustainable limits for fish catches and resource utilisation;
Establish sustainable levels of species harvesting;
Develop fish farming to supplement natural stocks.
Develop programmes to protect reefs and coral formations from natural and human degradation;
Develop the sustainable mining of coral sand;
Encourage appropriate traditional fishing practices that are compatible with the sustainable development of marine resources.
Provide planning controls to protect mangrove and wetland areas;
Establish pollution limits for the marine environment;
Develop legislation to abate pollution and destruction of the marine environment.
Conduct studies to strengthen the sustainable management of marine biodiversity;
Encourage and support research programmes on marine resources.
Educate the public about the danger to the marine environment and future harvest through the use of explosives and toxic chemicals;
Promote public understanding of the importance of mangrove swamps;
Develop community programmes to reduce the pollution of coastal waters.