6 Nov 2009

Owners of closed cannery in American Samoa opposes ASIPRE bill

11:15 am on 6 November 2009

The owners of the now closed Samoa Packing plant in American Samoa, Chicken of the Sea International, says it opposes the ASPIRE bill

The American Samoa Protection of Industry, Resources and Employment bill would pay fishing vessels that directly deliver their fish to American Samoa and companies that process tuna in the territory.

A Senior Vice President of Chicken of the sea International, John Sawyer, told a Congressional hearing on the bill that the incentives provided in the bill would cost US taxpayers 25 million US dollars.

He says the bill virtually ensures that the one remaining tuna processing plant operating in American Samoa, Star Kist Samoa, will remain profitable by providing its owner with financial hand outs.

He says the legislatively imposed windfall discourages competition and encourages waste with limited benefit to the American Samoa workforce and economy.

The official also says the US tuna fleet will suffer under the bill due to the fees that it imposes and would force competitors of Star Kist, like Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee to downsize or even close domestic US operations.