2 Feb 2012

Cook Islands' government considers opening office in American Samoa

10:52 am on 2 February 2012

The Cook Islands' government is looking at establishing a long-term presence in American Samoa.

Since last week a delegation from the Cook Islands' Ministry of Resources has been in American Samoa, partly as a courtesy visit and to inspect vessels that are licensed to fish in the Cook Islands.

But they've also been scouting for office space.

A director with the Ministry, Joshua Mitchell, says 40 long liners, fish full-time in Cook Island waters where they unload their catches at the local canneries, and he expects that will increase.

Mr Mitchell says having an office in American Samoa will help build relations with a neighbour it has a lot in common with.

"There's lots of things that we want to explore in terms of fisheries development so it's not just about enforcement but it's also to engage more at the local level with American Samoa and discuss the projects that could benefit both of us."