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The central south Pacific Ocean (American Samoa)
Craig, P.; Saucerman, S.; Wiegman, S. (2000). The central south Pacific Ocean (American Samoa), in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 765-772
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Craig, P.
  • Saucerman, S.
  • Wiegman, S.

Abstract
    This chapter describes several environmental issues in a small portion of Oceania, the vast expanse of open ocean and small tropical islands that are scattered across the South Pacific Ocean. American Samoa consists of seven islands, ranging from a small uninhabited atoll to the densely populated high island of Tutuila (145 km2). Mean air and sea surface temperatures (27.0 and 28.3°C, respectively) vary little year-round, although average air temperatures have risen sharply (2°C) in the 1990s. The main islands are volcanic mountains that descend rapidly to depths of 1000 m within 1-3 km from shore. Offshore ocean waters are 4000-6000 m deep and stratified, with cold water of 5-6°C below 600 m. The fringing coral reefs around the islands support over 200 coral and 890 fish species. The corals are recovering from a series of natural disturbances over the past two decades, but at least some reef resources are overfished for local consumption. The most serious environmental problem facing American Samoa is its uncontrolled population growth rate (2.5% ). The current population of 63,000 in 2000 is already straining the environment with extensive harbour pollution, loss of coastal habitats by urban expansion, and coastal sedimentation from poor upland management practices. Enforcement of environmental regulations is not widespread, and environmental educational programs have difficulty keeping pace with population growth. Several marine protected areas have been established, but illegal fishing is a general problem.

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