4 Apr 2016

American Samoa wants more involvement in tuna talks

2:17 pm on 4 April 2016

An American Samoa official involved in negotiations surrounding the US South Pacific Tuna Treaty says the territory could be used to lobby Pacific countries for fishing rights for boats.

Director of Commerce Keniseli Lafaele made the recommendation in a report about one of the meetings he and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale attended in New Zealand.

Mr Lafaele said as a member of the Pacific community, American Samoa could use its island connections to garner support in a way the US couldn't.

The Governor expressed concern that the US was not involving American Samoa in discussions that had a huge impact on the territory.

The Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency, James Movick, told KHJ News what part he saw American Samoa playing.

"It's helpful for American Samoa to make known its views and its concerns and other Pacific island countries do try to take that into consideration but at the end of the day, these countries also have their own aspirations, their own needs of their people that they have to look after in terms of maximising the economic benefit."

James Movick said he understood US law required wide consultations and American Samoa had been at the table in those discussions.