The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa was established on the 15th day of October, 2012.
NOAA is now mandated to provide enhanced protections and management for the newly established national marine sanctuary in the Southern Hemisphere, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa: Rose Atoll Marine National Monument will be protected under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Additionally, NOAA will extend sanctuary protection to four additional marine areas in American Samoa: Fagalua/Fogama'a (also known as Larsen Bay) and waters around Swains Island, Aunu`u Island and Ta'u Island, home to some of the oldest and largest known corals in the world. Together with the existing Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, these protected areas are now known collectively as the "National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa." The sanctuary now encompasses 13,581 square miles of protected waters - a significant increase from the 0.25 square miles of Fagatele Bay - taking it from the nation's smallest marine sanctuary to the largest.
This sanctuary expansion represents a major milestone for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in its 40th anniversary year. The inclusion of Rose Atoll Marine National Monument and the other new areas is a powerful demonstration of our nation's commitment to the Pacific and to the cultural heritage of American Samoa. Through this expansion, NOAA will be able to provide greater protection to ecosystems and cultural resources in the region, ensuring that the waters of American Samoa remain a vital part of the nation's legacy for future generations.