11 Mar 2016

American Samoa challenges US fishing rules in court

6:42 pm on 11 March 2016

American Samoa has asked the United States federal court in Hawaii to overturn a ruling allowing large scale commercial fishing closer to its coast.

Cannery, American Samoa

A cannery in American Samoa. Photo: Supplied

The territorial government is asking the court to reverse the US National Marine Fisheries Service decision that reduces the Large Vessel Protected Area around American Samoa from 80 kilometres to 18 kilometres.

For more than a decade it had been reserved for the local alia fleet.

In its complaint the government claims the National Marine Fisheries Service had acted arbitrarily in its decision, which the government says is contrary to the evidence in the record.

And it says the fisheries agency also abused its discretion by failing to review, address, or consider the Deeds of Cession as required under federal laws.

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