20 Jun 2014

US plans for Pacific waters questioned

10:39 am on 20 June 2014

American Samoa's congressional delegate has voiced concerns over the U.S. President's new executive orders to preserve and protect oceans and marine ecosystems in the Pacific.

Barack Obama moved this week to create the world's largest ocean preserve by expanding the Pacific Remote islands Marine National Monument, an ocean preserve that lies between Hawai'i and American Samoa.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he fully support Mr Obama's commitment to protecting the Pacific oceans but he says

the measures may impact some Pacific Island economies, including American Samoa.

Faleomavega says the Territory is a single-industry economy and is almost entirely dependent on the U.S. tuna fishing and processing industry.

He says he has told the White House that stakeholders including territorial delegates, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. tuna fishermen and processors, should be consulted.

The Obama administration says the President will seek input and comments from stakeholders, including fishermen, scientists, conservation experts, elected officials, and others in the region, to share their views before moving forward with these initiatives.