14 Feb 2015

Samoa PM downplays foreign fishing vessel concerns

7:24 pm on 14 February 2015

Samoa's Prime Minister has downplayed concerns about the number of foreign fishing vessels the government allows in its waters.

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: RNZI / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says the more licences issued to foreign companies the better, saying it's not important how many licences are issued because the fish don't belong to Samoa, and are migrating species.

He told the Samoa Observer that issuing more fishing licences means more money for the country, and by the time a fishing boat has collected a catch, more fish arrive from Tonga's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Tuilaepa then accused the owner of the Samoa Observer of not understanding what he writes about, and that he thinks the owner has never gone fishing before.

The Observer's chief editor, Savea Sano Malifa, declined to comment.