16 Sep 2016

American Samoa backed fisheries bill through Congress

7:22 am on 16 September 2016

The US House of Representatives has approved legislation giving American Samoa more say in fisheries management in the western Pacific.

Our correspondent says the Ensuring Access to Pacific Fisheries bill passed easily.

It had been sponsored by American Samoa's Congresswoman, Aumua Amata Radewagen, who described it to the House.

"I am proud to say that this bill does exactly what the title suggests. It ensures our fishermen's access to fisheries in international waters where we set the example for the rest of the world on how to best manage and conserve the ocean's resources," she said.

Aumua said the Obama Administration had closed off large swathes of the Pacific that have been used by American Samoans for centuries, while imposing irresponsible wage hikes on industry.

The Congresswoman said people testified on the bill that science had taken a back seat to geopolitics in fisheries negotiations with American Samoan fishermen, especially those after big eye tuna, paying the price.

Incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is seeking a second term.

Incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is seeking a second term. Photo: Supplied/United States Congress