16 Jul 2009

US to be asked to subsidise American Samoa's cannery

6:00 pm on 16 July 2009

Businesses involved with American Samoa's tuna industry are being urged to work together to support Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin's proposal to save the industry.

The Congressman is consulting on a proposal aiming to attract federal incentives for fishing boats that directly deliver their catches to American Samoa, and for companies that process tuna in the territory.

Faleomavaega has been working with the operator of the territory's other cannery, Star Kist Samoa, whose general manager, Brett Butler, says the proposal will help them to stay competitive and remain in American Samoa.

Mr Butler says with cost pressures, excess in world-wide capacity and the federally mandated minimum wage increases, canneries are at risk.

"Having a unified approach to the US Congress will put us in a better position and make them understand that this is something that will definitely help the people, the businesses and everyone around here in American Samoa. It is asking for the US to subsidise, but it is something that is needed to keep the economic viability here."

Brett Butler from Star Kist Samoa