The operator of a closed-down cannery in American Samoa has dismissed a claim that most of the gear at its Pago Pago facility is gone, saying it is exploring options to return.
The cannery, which is owned by Tri Marine International, was shut down in December, dealing a hefty blow to the territory's economy.
Tri Marine's American Samoa operations were raised during a meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council in Hawaii last week.
The council's executive director, Kitty Simonds, told the meeting she does not expect the company to return to American Samoa.
"Most of their gear and whatever they have in there, it's all gone, and the processing world is changing around the world. It will be very difficult for them to come back."
However, in a statement, Tri Marine said the company was continuing to explore options for the cannery, including an arrangement with another operator to reopen the facility.
It said the facility remained fully equipped and in working condition so it could resume operations.