The biggest disappointment upon returning to my island in 1980, was the depletion of ocean resources and lack of interest in Ocean conservation. Our coral reef was severely destroyed from reef walkers, coral poisoning, and worst of all, dynamite fishing. The destruction of the coral reef became a huge problem on Tutuila Island. Nature also can be self-destructive. When the crown of thorns starfish population exploded in the 1970s, most of the coral reef shelves of Tutuila Island were wiped out and recovery was a slow process.
By 1985, we moved on-location, and our first attempt to engage in healing of Alega Bay started with a ban on reef walking, fishing, and poisoning of coral with bleach. Alega Bay was officially closed from fishing and was declared as a no take area. With perseverance and mental strength on our part, Alega’s coral reef healed and made a slow recovery. However, in 1991, Cyclone Val destroyed most every coral colony on island, including our reefs. Coral shelves shattered in tiny pebbles and never fully recovered in South West facing shores. Out of this devastation, our mission to save Alega Bay accelerated to a full time commitment.
Tisa and Candyman are still the sole supporters and volunteers of Alega Marine Sanctuary and Ocean Conservation. Our steadfast commitment for a cleaner environment over 30 years, has returned Alega Bay to its pristine condition today. We host resident turtles, sharks, and rays in season. Whales are some of the mammals that have return to feed their young, in our village marine protected area in recent years. For more information, please visit our site at http://alegamarinesanctuary.org.