10 Jul 2008

American Samoa Congressman aims to restrict for more fishing acess in US Pacific

2:07 pm on 10 July 2008

The US Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council has welcomed a move by the American Samoan member of the US Congress to help change fishing legislation.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has been pushing to change the wording of a bill before the US Senate that will allow American flagged foreign built purse seine vessels to fish in U.S. waters.

The congressman recently wrote a letter to the Council, which regulates fishing in the US Pacific, saying the bill should exclude inhabited islands.

A senior scientist Paul Dalzell says the bill would then extend only to remote uninhabited atolls in U.S. Exclusive Economic Zones that have healthy fish stocks.

"The Congressman Eni Faleomavaega has modified his perspective on this and although the bill has now gone before the Senate Commerce Committee, and will go through the Senate, I think he wants to introduce language which would not allow foreign hulled vessels to fish in the US EEZs around inhabited islands which are American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI and the Hawaiian Islands."

Paul Dalzell says remote atolls include Howland, Baker, Wake, Jarvis and Palmyra.