The advisory body to the US Pacific territories' regional fisheries council has agreed that unless the council fully engages with other regional fisheries agencies, the American Samoa longline albacore industry will founder.
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee has been meeting in Hawaii this week, discussing environmentally and economically sustainable catch rates, among other issues.
Paul Dalzell, a senior scientist with the council, says the longline South Pacific albacore industry is vital not only to American Samoa but also to neighbouring countries and is under increasing pressure to remain viable.
"We've obviously been interested in what's been happening with the regional arrangement for South Pacific albacore but we really need to be much vigorously engaged and make sure we go to the Forum Fisheries Agency, what they call the Forum Fisheries Sub-Committee, on tuna and billfish. You know, we're not a member of the FFA but we can be an observer and we should at least participate in meetings and talk with our neighbouring countries about what they want to do and see if we can sort of harmonise with them."
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council's Paul Dalzell.