Guam Senator Will Castro Meets With Governor Lolo M. Moliga

February 2, 2017

Senator Will Castro of Guam and Sarah Pautzke, the Coordinator of the Pacific Islands Regional Planning Body met with Governor Lolo Moliga in a courtesy visit to the Governor’s office.

Both the Senator and Ms. Pautzke had been meeting this week with the heads of various departments and agencies that deal with ocean planning.  They commented on how impressed they were with American Samoa’s efforts to curb trash from entering the ocean, and the various public awareness programs that keep the local community informed. Senator Castro acknowledged and commended the work and contributions made by American Samoa’s representatives in the Regional Ocean Planning Committee.

Among others, Senator Castro and Sarah Pautzke met earlier this week with Director Ameko Pato of the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, and were able to view a newly produced video on the ASEPA’s efforts to clean up the coastal areas.  They also met with Sandra Lutu who heads the Department of Commerce Coastal Management program and were able to see the year-round events that promote coastal management and Acting Director Va’amua Henry Sesepasara of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources who was also very supportive of the ocean planning initiative.

The Guam Senator commented on how American Samoa is truly a coastal community, with over 90 percent of our population living along the coastline.  He mentioned how federal programs should be expanded to further assist the pacific territories, and that our working collaboratively could benefit American Samoa, Guam and the CNMI. Senator Castro emphasized the need for the territories to come together to combat steady proliferation in invasive species like the Crown of Thorn Starfish challenge for American Samoa. The Senator added that with the change in the political dynamics it behooves the Territories to improve and solidify arm’s length collaboration to raise awareness in the Nation’s Capitol and to secure needed funding to mitigate challenges affecting the integrity of our oceans.

Governor Lolo thanked Senator Castro for the courtesy visit and offered his support for any programs that will help with efforts to promote coastal management.  He also said he hopes the Senator and Ms. Pautzke will enjoy the rest of their stay in American Samoa.