30 Jul 2015

American Samoa canneries with supply concerns

2:46 pm on 30 July 2015

The two local canneries - the backbone of American Samoa's private sector economy - fear losing their fish supply.

They says they may have to import expensive fish from refrigerated cargo ships, due to restrictions imposed by the US National Oceania and Atmospheric Administration.

Those restrictions on the US exclusive economic zones and the high seas are in place until the end of the year because the US purse seiner fleet had reached its limit of 1828 fishing days.

Cannery, American Samoa

Cannery, American Samoa Photo: Supplied

Tri Marine, whose American Samoan operations include a locally based U.S. purse seiner fleet and a cannery, has already called on the Administration to exempt its boats from the fishing ban.

Tri Marine chief operations officer Joe Hamby says the ban poses significant challenges to the American Samoan-based purse seiner fleet.

And he says while historically these boats have been able to fish in Kiribati waters this year Kiribati has limited the number of fishing days for US boats to just 300.

Mr Hamby says this means the 37 boats that are fishing under the US South Pacific Tuna Treaty, only get eight fishing days per boat, compared with 108 per boat last year.

He says the company could be forced to stop operations.

US boats bemoan expense with loss of fishing waters

The US-based American Tunaboat Association says fishing has been made more expensive for US flagged purse seiners, due to a loss of fishing waters.

Fishing restrictions have been put in place on the high seas within the U.S Exclusing Economic Zone, as well as in the waters of Kiribati.

The executive director of the American Tunaboat Association Brian Hallman says US vessels are fishing in Pacific waters, except for Kiribati.

However he says some of the areas are far away from American Samoa, making fishing more expensive for the fleet.