15 Mar 2011

Doubts local fishermen in American Samoa will receive assistance from tsunami

4:20 pm on 15 March 2011

There are doubts in American Samoa over when members of the local fisheries industry may receive disaster financial assistance for damage caused by the 2009 tsunami.

The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has identified damages of about five million New Zealand dollars to small boats or alia and larger vessels.

A member of the Fishery Management Council, Taulapapa Willie Sword, says he hopes local fishermen will receive financial help soon, despite the United States Congress not yet passing the budget for the Governor.

"Well the US Congress is on a continuing resolution and a lot of these were earmarked funds so we're not sure how that's going to happen. Although it took a while to clear the Governor's office. It's now up with NOAA fisheries and they'll have to keep working on finding the funds to make it real, make it happen."

Taulapapa Willie Sword says local fishermen are disappointed they have not yet received any financial assistance to recover from the tsunami.

Meanwhile the Pacific Islands Regional Office says the information is insufficient to make an award determination.