17 Nov 2015

Fishing boats avoiding Pago Pago

8:39 am on 17 November 2015

The executive director of the American Tunaboat Association says strict federal regulations are causing fishing vessels to avoid the Port of Pago Pago in American Samoa.

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

Since June US purse seiners, which off load 50 percent of their catch at canneries in American Samoa, have been banned from fishing on the high seas with fishing grounds not reopening until the end of the year.

Brian Hallman says this has increased operational costs for purse seiners resulting in boats spending fewer days out at sea.

Mr Hallman is calling on US negotiators to press for some respite for the US fleet at next months annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission in Indonesia.