PIFSC Staff conduct site visit to American Samoa in July 2014

Four Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) staff conducted site visits to American Samoa in early July, including Risa Oram (Director’s Office – Science Operations), Kolter Kalberg (Socioeconomics and Planning Group (SPG) – Economics Research Program) and Kimberly Lowe (Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division – Insular Fish Monitoring Program) and Michael Quach (Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division – Western Pacific Fishery Information Network WPacFIN).

View of Pago Harbor from Mt. Alava, American Samoa

View of Pago Harbor from Mt. Alava, American Samoa

Risa Oram is the PIFSC Liaison Team Leader for American Samoa, Guam and CNMI.  The main purpose of her trip was to meet with the American Samoa Field Liaison, Gataivai Talamoa to help with continuing orientation, finalize outreach materials and plan for FY15 activities.  Gataivai Talamoa was hired primarily to assist with cruise logistics during cruise years and to help provide assistance to staff visiting American Samoa from PIFSC to ensure they have the information and help they may need to have a successful visit.  This includes orienting folks to local cultural protocols and dress expectations, among other things. Gataivai Talamoa also assists the Office of Atmospheric Research, Global Monitoring Division with some of their research needs at the NOAA Observatory in Tula.

As part of Risa Oram’s visit, meetings were held with natural resource agency partners, including Dr. Ruth Matagi Tofiga, the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) Director and Ms. Selaina Tuimavave, Deputy Director of DMWR. The DMWR Director reemphasized the availability of the PIFSC American Samoa Liaison to work closely with DMWR to meet the goals and objectives of the PIFSC. Risa Oram also met with other DMWR staff, Coral Reef Advisory Group staff, University of Hawaii Sea Grant staff, American Samoa Community College Marine Science instructor, National Marine Sanctuaries and National Parks partners, among others.

Gataivai Talamoa and Risa Oram discussed some PowerPoint slides that can be used to create local outreach materials to help educate community members about the science that PIFSC does in American Samoa. They also discussed some ideas for educating young people about the various career paths one might choose to get a job in NOAA. This includes some specific suggestions about types of majors, examples of good school programs and how to navigate the federal job application process on USAjobs. Gataivai Talamoa and Risa Oram also attended a One-NOAA meeting held in the NOAA housing compound area in Lions Park and met the current (Jesse Milton) and future (Refael Klein) station chief for the NOAA Observatory in Tula. Risa Oram and other PIFSC staff visiting American Samoa during the same time (Kolter Kalberg and Michael Quach) attended a traditional umu celebration of the completion of the housing renovations that includes a new outreach center and also attended a tour of the NOAA Observatory in Tula.

Left to right - Jesse Milton (NOAA Corps), Gataivai Talamoa and Refael Klein (NOAA Corps) after a One NOAA meeting

Left to right – Jesse Milton (NOAA Corps), Gataivai Talamoa and Refael Klein (NOAA Corps) after a One NOAA meeting

Michael Quach and Kolter Kalberg on top of the NOAA Observatory in Tula, American Samoa

Michael Quach and Kolter Kalberg on top of the NOAA Observatory in Tula, American Samoa

Kolter Kalberg was also visiting American Samoa to collect trip-specific expenditure data from participants in the American Samoa-based longline fleet. Kolter Kalberg met with DMWR officials to discuss efficient means for fielding SPG’s upcoming survey of the local small-boat fishing fleet. Kalberg also interviewed a number of longline captains in Pago Pago and worked with PIFSC Fisheries Monitoring Branch Operational Research Analyst, Darryl Tagami to examine the validity of data regarding regional bluefin tuna landings.

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