17 Sep 2009

American Samoa seeks US subsidies as canneries struggle

6:37 pm on 17 September 2009

American Samoa's member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says he introduced into the U.S. House, the American Samoa Protection of Industry, Resources, and Employment bill.

He says this is to ensure that everything that could be done has been done to save American Samoa's private-sector economy, which is more than 80 percent dependent on the US tuna processing and fishing industries.

He says with one cannery scheduled to close in a few weeks and the other struggling to hold on, time is of the essence in rebuilding the tuna industry and stabilising the territorial economy.

Faleomavaega says the bill will provide subsidies to the canneries and to fishing vessels, and ensure that tuna caught in the region is not processed in other countries.

He says the urgent issue facing American Samoa is the pending collapse of the tuna processing industry and if that goes, all other employers and jobs in the territory are put at immediate peril.