30 Jun 2014

American Samoa postpones fish vote

6:58 am on 30 June 2014

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has voted to delay action on a proposal to open some of the currently closed waters surrounding American Samoa to longliner fishing.

The proposal, which has divided fishermen and local leaders, will be taken up by the Council during its meeting in October.

The Council agreed to defer action until further meetings with the American Samoa Government, Swains Island, Tutuila, Manua Islands and local fishermen.

The proposal to amend the Large Vessel Prohibited Area is the Council's response to help the local longline fishing industry, which is suffering from a potential economic collapse.

Many vessels have been operating at a loss as catches have been insufficient to cover operating costs.

Additionally longliners view an influx of Chinese longline vessels as responsible for the increased competition that is lowering the locals' catch rates.