31 Oct 2013

Worries in American Samoa at easier foreign access to US tuna market

7:03 pm on 31 October 2013

American Samoa's governor says the local fishing industry is being hurt by multi and bilateral fisheries agreements between the United States and other countries.

Lolo Moliga says he has told a Department of the Interior official, Eileen Sobeck, the territory has suffered indirectly from deals that give special access to US allies which then export their catches to the US.

He said the interests of American Samoa are never addressed in these treaty negotiations and the net effect is undermining the local canneries.

The chairman Tri Marine International, Renato Curto, agrees, saying pending legislation in Washington that would allow foreign companies improved access to the US is a threat to his company which is building a new tuna cannery in American Samoa.

"We are investing in Samoa because we believe in the advantages of being in American Samoa and we believe the people of American Samoa can do the job properly and if we eliminate the little advantage that American Samoa has with respect to the other countries that produce tuna and export to the United States, then our job is going to be very very difficult."