6 Apr 2016

American Samoa cannery in need of storage space

3:11 pm on 6 April 2016

The American Samoa cannery StarKist Samoa says it needs to secure more fish storage space or workers hours will be affected.

StarKist Samoa is the biggest tuna producer in the world, but with a 5,000 metric tonne freezer which can hold enough fish to last ten days, has perhaps the smallest fish storage capacity.

It has been trying to secure extra space for nearly ten years.

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Workers at the StarKist cannery Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

StarKist President and CEO, Andrew Choe, who made a brief visit to American Samoa, says increasing the cannery's cold storage capacity is more critical now than ever before.

He said there is less certainty in boats calling into port to deliver fish, and even if access to nearby fishing grounds is secured, if storage is not increased, production will be affected and workers will face a reduction in hours.

"Fishing is not stable. Fishing itself is dynamic. Sometimes they catch a lot, sometimes they don't catch much. So when they catch a lot, all the boats do come in, but we're not able to buy all the fish right? So they have to ship it out. It hurts the boats as well."