22 Oct 2015

American Samoa purse seiners high seas ban remains

8:59 am on 22 October 2015

United States purse seiners based in American Samoa have been refused an exemption to the ban on fishing in the high seas area known as the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seiners.

A net filled with skipjack tuna coming out of the hold of a purse seine fishing vessel anchored in the Marshall Islands as it off-loads the fish to a mothership for transfer to Asian canneries.

Fishermen on a purse seine vessel in the Pacific. Photo: AFP

An exemption had been sought on the condition half the purse seiners' catches went to the local canneries.

In May the cannery operator, Tri-Marine, petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service, saying the ability of local tuna vessels to operate profitably was harmed by the ban.

But the Service's regional administrator, Michael Tosatto, says they didn't have enough information, but they have committed to try and find out more about the ban's impacts.

"So we are again collecting information and are going to make a concerted effort to get economic information here in American Samoa so we can get a measure of the impact of these limits on American Samoa."