25 Jan 2016

American Samoa's Tri Marine to find other opportunities

3:28 pm on 25 January 2016

Tri Marine International says it will look for other opportunities to source a tuna supply for its American Samoa cannery.

The fishing industry in the territory is facing serious challenges with restrictions imposed since June, and the United States recently withdrawing from the Pacific fisheries treaty.

There is concern these challenges will result in the closure of Tri Marine's two Pago Pago canneries, as it may not have enough raw material to be processed.

A company spokesperson, Heidi Happonen, says Tri Marine will be able to source tuna from around the world, but at a cost.

She says Tri Marine will look to source tuna from other fleets that may be available to make direct deliveries to American Samoa, while supporting every effort to negotiate a new treaty for US-flagged boats.

StarKist Samoa did not respond to questions on how it would get its fish supply this year.

Frozen albacore tuna offloaded in Lami, Fiji

frozen tuna Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

Government monitoring development

The American Samoa Government is watching closely how the United States pull-out from the South Pacific Tuna Treaty will impact the local tuna industry.

According to the executive assistant to the governor, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, the implications of the withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty is being reviewed by the American Samoa Fisheries Task Force.

He says the administration has received information that some of the fishing vessels which supply fish to the local canneries are not going out fishing because it is not economically and financially feasible.

Several locally-based purse seiners have been tied up since the end of last year, as they don't have licenses to fish in nearby waters that have been their traditional fishing grounds.

Iulogologo said the government is aggressively implementing economic development initiatives aimed at easing the adverse impact on the territory's economy should the canneries reduce production days due to the shortage of fishstocks.

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