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Fatima Sauafea-Le’au, Fisheries Biologist

May 03, 2021

As a fisheries biologist in American Samoa, Fatima is a key member of the Pacific Islands Regional Office habitat conservation team.

Fishery biologist, 	Fatima Sauafea-Leau, hosting a climate resiliency project in Vatia Village, American Samoa.ri Fatima supports a climate resiliency project in the community of Vatia village, a priority site for coral reef management. She is facilitating a community meeting to assist in the development of climate adaptation and resilience measures for the Vatia Climate Adaptation Guide.

What is your key responsibility?

I am a fisheries biologist based in Pago Pago, American Samoa. One of my primary roles is to serve as a fisheries liaison for coral reef management. I provide support and assistance to the American Samoa resource management partners and local communities on coral reef management projects. I conduct reviews and provide conservation recommendations for Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultations on development projects in American Samoa to minimize, avoid, and/or mitigate any adverse effects to EFH.

What is Essential Fish Habitat?

Where did you grow up?

I am a Samoan, born and raised in American Samoa. I grew up in a small village called Aua on Tutuila Island in a family that values culture, church, and family.

What is your educational background?

I earned a B.S. degree in biology from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawai‘i and an M.S. degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver.

Are you a member of any organizations within your community?

I am an active member of a few organizations within my Catholic church, Maria Fatima Parish, in Aua, Tutuila. These organizations include the St. Gregory Choir, Women’s Organization, Youth Group, and Sunday School Teachers Organization. I am a volunteer science mentor for the Marist St. Francis Elementary School, assisting regularly with student science fair projects. I am also the Treasurer for the Marist St. Francis Elementary School Parents and Teachers Association.

What book influenced you to be the person that you are today?

Fatima Sauafea-Le’au, Fisheries Biologist, standing next to vertical banner at an outreach event
Fatima works with other local and federal resource partners to provide information about habitat conservation, regional coral reef project activities, and coral reef management in American Samoa.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington. People often think that you are a successful person when you have a bigger salary and office space. However, this book shows how success is not only defined by money and power but the importance of being mindful, having self-awareness, taking care of yourself, and being generous to others. The book defines these thriving elements in the areas of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. I am using these elements to help me in my journey to success.

What advice would you have for today’s youth interested in a federal government career?

Believe in yourself and never let fear limit you from applying for a career opportunity in the federal government. Do your research on federal career opportunities and work towards obtaining the required skills and experiences for the opportunity relevant to your interest. Obtain a college degree and seek internship opportunities within the federal offices that you are interested in.