24 Dec 2013

Local longline fishing industry in American Samoa almost broken

3:18 pm on 24 December 2013

The owner of an American Samoan fishing company says the creation by the government of a committee to help the territory's albacore fishing fleet is too little too late.

The president of Longline Services Incorporated, Carlos Sanchez, says local owners of albacore fishing boats are all planning on selling up in the new year because they are struggling to maintain viability.

Mr Sanchez says they can't compete with the influx of Chinese fleets, which enjoy government subsidies, and has led to low catches, and a reduction in prices for tuna.

He says they appealed for government help back in February.

"With this committee I have no hopes to tell you the truth, it is already 11 months since we sent the letter to the government and they formed the committee two weeks ago so that is the urgency that they see."

Carlos Sanchez says they need support from the government over the coming off-season if they're to have any chance of survival.