Amata Welcomes Coral Reef Protection Bill
Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed reintroduction of the Coral Reef Conservation Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5996) to boost federal funding and key preservation measures for coral reefs.
Congresswoman Amata is an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which was introduced by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and has unanimous support from the insular representatives of all the island Territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“American Samoa’s coral reefs include southern hemisphere species that differ from any other U.S. state or territory,” said Aumua Amata. “Our shoreline areas and the waters offshore in American Samoa are beautiful places, and we want to be vigilant about their health. In fact, our unique National Park alone has 2,550 acres of coral reefs from some 250 species. I support the necessary funding to study and safeguard them, and this bill would help provide the necessary planning, monitoring and potential grant opportunities for their ongoing preservation.”
Congresswoman Amata speaking in Committee earlier this year.
“I want to thank Congresswoman Bordallo for her work on this particular issue since 2009,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “These reefs are a natural part of the ecosystems of our oceans, and their good health provides a lasting benefit to our people and way of life.”
The bill would reauthorize, update and amend the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, which expired in 2004. Specifically, this bill would strengthen the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) coral reef program, establishing new federal grant opportunities for coral reef projects, research, invasive/nuisance species control, and monitoring efforts, including National Parks.
“Like many places all around the islands, coral reefs are visible from the shores by my home on Coconut Point,” concluded Amata. “Like many of us, my family loves to catch and eat fish and lobster right off the nearby shores, and for many of our people, that’s not just a pastime, but both a tradition and a necessary food source. I will continue to support a careful and thoughtful balance that ensures our traditional fishing rights, preserves our reefs and protects all our beautiful places for generations to come.”