27 Oct 2017

American Samoa official calls for improved fishing access

9:20 am on 27 October 2017

An American Samoa fisheries official says the US tuna fleet is "under siege" from groups managing the region's fisheries.

 Tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel.

Tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel. Photo: RNZI/Giff Johnson

Frank Barron has told a meeting in Pago Pago that the Parties to the Nauru Agreement and the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission are taking advantage of the fleet.

He said the entire US fleet is hurting and it needs support from the US government.

Mr Barron said through its vessel-day-scheme the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) can control the area being fished and the cost of admission.

He said the only solution was to allow the US-flagged tuna fleet to fish in the high seas and the United States Pacific Remote Island Areas of Jarvis Island, Howland and Baker Islands and Kingman Reef.

StarKist Samoa official Taotasi Archie Soliai said StarKist understood the issues.

He said when the US fleet suffers, it affected the ability of the cannery to sustain its operations and has caused shutdowns over the past two years.

Mr Barron was speaking at a meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.