23 Nov 2009

American Samoa marine protection impacts on fishermen

2:13 pm on 23 November 2009

Fears have been voiced that a ban on commercial fishing around the Rose Atoll Monument will affect the livelihoods of fishermen in American Samoa.

The ban was imposed earlier this year by the outgoing US President George Bush, who declared the area a monument as part of moves to protect areas of the Pacific Ocean.

The ban prohibits commercial fishing 80 kilometres out from the atoll, but subsistence or traditional fishing is allowed.

Chiefs from the Manu'a islands in American Samoa say their fishermen won't be able to sell all their fish, which will be a hurdle for families.

The Western Pacific Fisheries Council's chairman Lauvao Steve Haleck told a public meeting it's calling for compensation

"The council may therefore recommend that complete information on affected communities and fair compensation be compiled and utilised in the development proposal for affected fisheries participants that have been displaced from fishing grounds."

Lauvao Steve Haleck estimates around 130 tonnes of fish is caught in the area.