31 Jul 2015

American Samoa wants catch limit exemption

8:23 am on 31 July 2015

An American Samoa fisheries task force has warned of economic catastrophe if the US purse seiner fleet packs up due to lost fishing grounds in near waters.

Purse Seine fishing

Purse Seine fishing Photo: Supplied

The fishing operations face a bleak future because of a drastic reduction in fishing days under the South Pacific Tuna Treaty in waters near Kiribati.

Limits have also been placed on the catch from the high seas close to American Samoa.

This comes as the two local canneries - the backbone of American Samoa's private sector economy - fear losing their fish supply due to restrictions imposed by the US National Oceania and Atmospheric Administration.

The government task force along with one of the cannery operators, Tri Marine International, has filed a petition to the Administration to have locally based fishing vessels which deliver half of their catches to the local canneries exempted from the limit.

They say without the exemption locally based purse seiners would be forced to fish in areas that are far away from American Samoa.

The task force chairman Solip Hong says three purse seiners have already left because it is no longer economical for them to carry on.

Solip Hong is calling for support for the petition to the federal agency NOAA.

  • American Samoa canneries with supply concerns
  • Exemption asked for American Samoa fishing fleets
  • PNA members urged to prepare for risks