Stay connected with us
around the nation »

American Samoa Bottomfish Handline Fishery

Current Classification on the 2017 LOF

Category III
Estimated Number of Participants 24
Target Species 17 species of various snappers, groupers, jacks and emperors
Applicable Take Reduction Plans None
Observer Coverage Not observed
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured None documented

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

(1) Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification:  Based on the similarity of this fishery to the Hawaii bottomfish fishery, which was observed at 18.3-33.3% coverage from October 2003-December 2005 with no marine mammal interactions, this fishery is expected to have a remote likelihood of marine mammal interactions. Additionally, no mortality or serious injury of marine mammals has been reported or documented in the fishery. 

Distribution: Spatial distribution of fishing effort is not available. However, because of the steepness of the offshore slope around the islands of American Samoa, fishing occurs primarily in nearshore territorial waters, although there are some offshore banks that support bottomfish habitat in federal waters. Fishing occurs year-round with trips limited to a single day.

In 2013, 17 boats landed bottomfish on 505 trips, with 35,155 lb in commercial bottomfish landings (WPacFIN).

Gear Description: Fishing from aluminum/plywood catamarans or alia less than 32 ft in length using a vertical mainline with single or multiple baited hooks on short leaders and a terminal weight, used on or near the bottom. The line is retrieved manually, or by any other powered method. Chum bags are sometimes used.

Management: American Samoa’s bottomfish fishery harvests a complex of 17 species that includes both shallow and deep-water snappers and several species of groupers, emperors, and jacks. The federal fisheries management regime under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for American Samoa (American Samoa FEP) and implementing regulations under 50 CFR 665.100 through 665.119 include at-sea observer requirements and a prohibition on the use of bottom trawls, bottom-set gillnets, and poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances for harvesting bottomfish. The fishery is also subject to an annual catch limit to prevent overfishing. The catch limit is reviewed annually (unless the limit is specified under a multi-year specification) and published in the Federal Register.  

Federal regulations under 50 CFR 665.960 through 665.966 also prohibit all commercial fishing within the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, which extends 50 nautical miles (nm) seaward of Rose Atoll, while non-commercial fishing is prohibited within 12 nm of the atoll.

The Territory of American Samoa has not promulgated regulations specific to bottomfish fishing, but prohibits or regulates certain fishing gear and regulates fishing in certain areas (e.g., community-based marine protected areas), which may also apply to this fishery.

Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants < 50
Basis for Original Classification Listed as Category III because the fishery was expected to have a remote likelihood of incidental serious injury or mortality of marine mammals.  No observer, logbook, or stranding data were available.
Past Names None
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Estimated number of participants increased from 17 to 24
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 14 to 17
  • Estimated number of participants increased from 12 to 14.
  • Estimated number of participants changed from < 50 to 12.


Updated June 19, 2017