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Pago Pago, American Samoa

Fenner D.,American Samoa Government
Marine Pollution Bulletin

Studies on remote, uninhabited, near-pristine reefs have revealed surprisingly large populations of large reef fish. Locations such as the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Marianas Islands, Line Islands, U.S. remote Pacific Islands, Cocos-Keeling Atoll and Chagos archipelago have much higher reef fish biomass than islands and reefs near people. Much of the high biomass of most remote reef fish communities lies in the largest species, such as sharks, bumphead parrots, giant trevally, and humphead wrasse. Some, such as sharks and giant trevally, are apex predators, but others such as bumphead parrots and humphead wrasse, are not. At many locations, decreases in large reef fish species have been attributed to fishing. Fishing is well known to remove the largest fish first, and a quantitative measure of vulnerability to fishing indicates that large reef fish species are much more vulnerable to fishing than small fish. The removal of large reef fish by fishing parallels the extinction of terrestrial megafauna by early humans. However large reef fish have great value for various ecological roles and for reef tourism. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Hawley N.L.,Brown University | Wier L.M.,Brown University | Cash H.L.,Brown University | Viali S.,Ministry of Health | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Human Biology

Objective: To describe the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factor clustering in Samoan adolescents and to relate risk factor clustering to weight status and general modernization. Methods: Anthropometric and biochemical data collected from adolescents aged 12-17.9 years who participated in the Samoan Family Study of Overweight and Diabetes were used to describe the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors (high waist circumference, high blood pressure, high triglyceride level, low-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high fasting serum glucose). A total of 436 adolescents were included in this analysis; 237 (54.4%) from American Samoa (n = 123 males) and 199 (45.6%) from Samoa (n = 90 males). Risk factor clustering was indicated by the presence of ≥3 risk factors. Results: Cardiometabolic risk factor clustering was greater in American Samoan adolescents (17.9% males, 21.9% females) than Samoan adolescents (1.1% males, 2.8% females). The frequency of risk factor clustering varied according to body mass index status. In males, risk factor clustering was entirely confined to obese adolescents, whereas female adolescents who were overweight or obese were at risk. Conclusions: Cardiometabolic risk factor clustering is prevalent in the young American Samoan population and is likely to become more prevalent with increasing modernization in Samoan youth. Screening and intervention should be targeted at this age group to reduce the non-communicable disease burden faced by these populations. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Work T.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Balazs G.H.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Summers T.M.,Sea Turtle Program | Hapdei J.R.,Sea Turtle Program | Tagarino A.P.,American Samoa Government
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Fibropapillomatosis (FP) comprises a majority of green turtle stranding in Hawaii; however, green turtles in the Pacific are also susceptible to non-FP related causes of death. We present here necropsy findings from 230 free-ranging green turtles originating from Hawaii, the Mariana archipelago, Palmyra Atoll, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll that died from non-FP related causes. Most turtles died from fishing-induced or boat strike trauma followed by infectious/inflammatory diseases, nutritional problems (mainly cachexia), and an array of physiologic problems. Infectious/inflammatory problems included bacterial diseases of the lungs, eyes, liver or intestines, spirorchid fluke infection, or polyarthritis of unknown origin. Likelihood of a successful diagnosis of cause of death was a function of post-mortem decomposition. Fibropapillomatosis was not seen in turtles submitted from outside Hawaii. The preponderance of anthropogenic causes of mortality offers some management opportunities to mitigate causes of death in these animals by, for example, implementing measures to decrease boating and fishing interactions. © 2015, Inter-Research. All rights reserved. Source

Cash H.L.,Brown University | Mcgarvey S.T.,Brown University | Houseman E.A.,Brown University | Marsit C.J.,Brown University | And 5 more authors.

Lower levels of LINE-1 methylation in peripheral blood have been previously associated with risk of developing non-communicable conditions, the most well-explored of these being cancer, although recent research has begun to link altered LINE-1 methylation and cardiovascular disease. We examined the relationship between LINE-1 methylation and factors associated with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases through quantitative bisulfite pyrosequencing in DNA from peripheral blood samples from participants of the Samoan Family Study of Overweight and Diabetes (2002-03). The sample included 355 adult Samoans (88 men and 267 women) from both American Samoa and Samoa. In a model including all sample participants, men had significantly higher LINE-1 methylation levels than women (p = 0.04) and lower levels of LINE-1 methylation were associated with higher levels of fasting LDL (p = 0.02) and lower levels of fasting HDL (p = 0.009). The findings from this study confirm that DNA "global" hypomethylation (as measured by methylation at LINE-1 repeats) observed previously in cardiovascular disease is associated with altered levels of LDL and HDL in peripheral blood. Additionally, these findings strongly argue the need for further research, particularly including prospective studies, in order to understand the relationship between LINE-1 DNA methylation measured in blood and risk factors for ardiovascular disease. © 2011 Landes Bioscience. Source

Fenner D.,American Samoa Government

Widespread coral reef decline has included the decline of reef fish populations, and the subsistence and artisanal fisheries that depend on them. Overfishing and destructive fishing have been identified as the greatest local threats to coral reefs, but the greatest future threats are acidification and increases in mass coral bleaching caused by global warming. Some reefs have shifted from dominance by corals to macroalgae, in what are called "phase shifts". Depletion of herbivores including fishes has been identified as a contributor to such phase shifts, though nutrients are also involved in complex interactions with herbivory and competition. The depletion of herbivorous fishes implies a reduction of the resilience of coral reefs to the looming threat of mass coral mortality from bleaching, since mass coral deaths are likely to be followed by mass macroalgal blooms on the newly exposed dead substrates. Conventional stock assessment of each fish species would be the preferred option for understanding the status of the reef fishes, but this is far too expensive to be practical because of the high diversity of the fishery and poverty where most reefs are located. In addition, stock assessment models and fisheries in general assume density dependent populations, but a key prediction that stocks recover from fishing is not always confirmed. Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) has far too many weaknesses to be a useful method. The ratio of catch to stock and the proportion of catch that is mature depend on fish catch data, and are heavily biased toward stocks that are in good condition and incapable of finding species that are in the worst condition. Near-pristine reefs give us a reality check about just how much we have lost. Common fisheries management tools that control effort or catch are often prohibitively difficult to enforce for most coral reefs except in developed countries. Ecosystem-based management requires management of impacts of fishing on the ecosystem, but also vice versa. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been a favorite management tool, since they require little information. MPAs are excellent conservation and precautionary tools, but address only fishing threats, and may be modest fisheries management tools, which are often chosen because they appear to be the only feasible alternative. "Dataless management" is based on qualitative information from traditional ecological knowledge and/or science, is sufficient for successful reef fisheries management, and is very inexpensive and practical, but requires either customary marine tenure or strong governmental leadership. Customary marine tenure has high social acceptance and compliance and may work fairly well for fisheries management and conservation where it is still strong. Source

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