MAF – Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries

About Us

The Fisheries Division undertakes research, analysis, monitoring and reporting to inform the sustainable development and management of fisheries and aquaculture in Samoa. The Division is mandated to liaise with international, regional, government agencies and village communities on issues affecting the conservation, development and management of fisheries resources and their ecosystems; advise government agencies, villages, non-government organizations and stakeholders on the development and management of aquaculture, coastal and oceanic fisheries for the present and future generations of Samoa. It may also carry out other functions for the purpose of conservation, development and management of fisheries in Samoa.

Our Services

1. Community Based Fisheries Management Program (CBFMP)

The CBFMP is an approach facilitated by the Advisory Section to engage coastal communities to manage and protect their fisheries resources and marine environment. The programme is a “bottom-up” approach in which communities have the primary responsibility to manage their marine environment, aquatic and fisheries resources whilst the
Fisheries Division-MAF provides technical support. The CBFMP approach was developed to integrate well with the social norms, customs and traditions in the Samoan village communities. It is designed to empower local village communities as resource owners and users to take charge and be more responsible with their actions towards the marine environment and the fisheries resources.
The basic principles for Samoa’s CBFMP are;

  • Maximum community participation
  • High motivation from participating communities
  • Demand-based system and development of alternative sources of income and
    food security purposes (e.g. deployment of near shore FADs, restocking of giant clams and trochus, seaweed and tilapia farming)

To date, more than 120 coastal village communities in Samoa joined the program with
80% fully active in executing 100% of their management plans undertaking including the
establishment of their village-owned fish reserves and development of their village
The CBFMP activities includes but not limited to the following;

  • Meeting with the Village Councils and consult with other community sectors in developing village/community fisheries management plans.
  • Assess the performance of participating villages and provide advice for the improvement of fisheries management activities.
  • Liaise with other sections of the Division as well as other Ministries to provide assistance with fisheries management undertakings in participating villages.
  • Assist village councils in developing and approving village bylaws to be recognised in the Court of Law.
  • Improve understanding of coastal communities to take full responsibility in managing their marine and fisheries resources.
  • Conduct awareness and outreach programs on fisheries issues.
  • Facilitate programs that promote lessons learned and sharing ideas on fisheries management by participating villages.

2. Coastal/Inshore Fisheries

The Coastal/Inshore Fisheries Section is responsible for the sustainable development and management of Samoa’s coastal fisheries and marine resources. The core activities includes but not limited to the following;

  • Research on coastal fisheries resources and the marine environment to inform management decisions and to determine their potential for development. Monitor coastal fisheries developments to ensure its sustainability.
  • Establish and promote conservation measures for the sustainable utilization of fishery resources.
  • Develop opportunities to support food and nutritious security and livelihoods through diversification of coastal fisheries resources such as stock enhancement and value-adding activities.
  • Promote healthy and resilient coastal habitats and coral reef systems.
  • Promote awareness and active participation of stakeholders in research activities.
  • Conduct research programs such as market surveys/landings, socio-economics survey, stock assessments, habitat monitoring on climate change impacts and adaptations, ciguatera, palolo and commercial species of importance such as sea cucumbers, trochus and edible seaweeds.
  • Collect and document district profiles of coastal fisheries and marine habitats for the whole of Samoa.

3. Oceanic/Offshore Fisheries

The Offshore Section exist to manage Samoa’s oceanic fisheries and to progress the development of
the commercial fisheries and processing sector through the provision of advice that are informed
from the results of the following work areas.
Oceanic fisheries management activities include but not limited to the following:

  • Monitoring of resource yields from fishing activities in the oceanic area of Samoa.
  • Develop and review related regulations, tuna management and development plan and
    terms and conditions of fishing licenses and systems to control fishing activities for oceanic
    fisheries resources.
  • Design and implement fisheries surveillance programmes to ensure compliance of oceanic
    fishing operators to fisheries conservation and management measures.
  • Collection and analysis of fisheries and scientific information to better understand the
    dynamics of oceanic fish stocks and their population/biomass status.

Oceanic fisheries development activities includes but not limited to the following;

  • Deployment and maintenance of Fish Aggregating Devices to support small scale oceanic
  • Provision on infrastructure support for rural small-scale fishers.
  • Provide policy advice and initiative to relevant national forums to ensure the profitability
    and economic viability of Samoa’s commercial tuna fishery.
  • Develop systems of equivalency or compatibility to market states access requirements to
    ensure continuation of fish exportation from Samoa.
  • A cabinet sanctioned Commercial Fisheries Management Advisory Committee (CF-MAC)
    which is made up of both government and industry representatives and meets regularly to
    address issues relating to the management and development of the commercial fisheries in

4. Aquaculture Research and Development

The Aquaculture Section is responsible for farming aquatic organisms in freshwater,
seawater, brackish water and inland saline water. Aquaculture in Samoa was developed
and promoted to alleviate marine fishing pressure through species introduction and
restocking in the lagoons and reefs.
Aquaculture activities includes but not limited to the following;

  • Promote better aquaculture management practices (BMPs).
  • Diversify the number of aquatic species that can be cultured and/or farmed in
  • Research potential commodities that can be cultured and/or farmed in Samoa.
  • Improve quality and availability of lower cost feeds for aquaculture
  • Ensure access by farmers to the best possible genetic quality seed stocks.
  • Site assessments and feasibility studies to determine the suitability of the
    ecosystems and habitats for commodities farming and grow-outs.
  • Carry out spawning and/or propagating of commodities for restocking (marine
    and freshwater) and reef enhancement purposes.
  • Monitoring growth rates of farmed species (e.g. giant clams, tilapia, etc)
  • Provide technical assistance, support and public awareness to the public and
    stakeholders on aquaculture development and management initiatives.

Given the importance of promoting aquaculture developments, Fisheries Division
envisages new developments to expand infrastructure to accommodate trialling of
species such as seagrape and mabe-pearl and other potential aquaculture species. The
expansion of the multispecies hatchery at Toloa and the improvement of the facilities

will serve the national interests and responsibilities in research station establishment,
brood stock management, and biosecurity and quarantine protocols.

5. Fisheries Surveillance and Enforcement

The Fisheries Surveillance and Enforcement provides enforcement services pertinent to the Fisheries Management Act 2016. The activities include but not limited to the following;

  • Conduct joint fisheries operations such as surface and aerial  surveillance using Samoa’s Patrol Boat – Nafanua II and the FFA surveillance aircraft based in Samoa.
  • Engage in other regional and bilateral fisheries surveillance and enforcement operations such as Kurukuru, Tuimoana, Island Chief and Ika Moana.
  • Investigate potential infringements and prepare case files for prosecution as a result of fisheries surveillance and enforcement operations.
  • Enforcement of fisheries legislations.
  • Provide support to village communities with regards to respective village bylaws.
  • Collaborate with relevant Government Ministries and Agencies on fisheries surveillance and enforcement work.
  • Carry out awareness programs on surveillance and enforcement of fisheries regulations.

6. Competent Authority/Seafood Safety and Verification

The Competent Authority (CA) is the independent government agency responsible for the verification and certification of fish exports. The overall objective of the CA is to ensure that the fish and fishery products originating from Samoa satisfy the requirements of its trading partners or overseas markets.
The CA activities include but not limited to the following;

  • Verify the operation of licensed fish processing establishments (FPE) and registered fishing vessels (including vessels, landing sites and cold stores).
  • Provide advice to the Minister with regard to licensing in accordance with the Fisheries Management Act 2016 and related regulations.
  • Issuing of certification for seafood exports.
  • Liaise with FPEs operators, relevant Government agencies and importing country authorities with regard to seafood safety and market access requirements.
  • Provide official assurance to importing country authorities of the safety of seafood products for export.
  • Issue corrective actions for non-compliances to Industry Agreed Standards.

Provide initial and regular follow up training for CA inspectors and Fisheries authorized officers

7. Administration and Fish Market operations

The section is responsible for the general administration of the Division as well as
maintaining the Fish Market ensuring the hygienic and sanitation requirements are
observed at all times.
The activities include;

  • Facilitate procurements and services.
  • Maintain all Divisional assets.
  • Maintain the high level of cleanliness and sanitation for the Apia Fish Market.

Carry out general operations and maintenance of the Apia Fish Market, Toloa Multispecies Hatchery, Salelologa and Asau Offices.