Tag Archives: American Samoa

Fishing Vessel Owner Convicted for Oil and Garbage Offenses Off American Samoa

A fishing vessel company that operated in and around American Samoa was convicted and sentenced today for maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oil and garbage, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and United States Attorney Channing D. Phillips. The company, Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu) Co. Ltd., owned the Fishing Vessel (“F/V”) Yuh Fa No. 201, the vessel that was responsible for the pollution. click here to read the story 16:13

American Samoa wins suit against NMFS over Large Vessel Prohibited Area rule change

American Samoa has won its lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service over the Large Vessel Prohibited Area  rule change. Hawaii Federal District Court Judge, Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi issued her ruling in the Territory of American Samoa’s case against NOAA ruling in favor of the Territory and vacating and setting aside NOAA rule 81 Fed. Reg.  5619 (Feb. 3, 2016) which shrunk the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) from 50 to 12 miles. This  allowed long-line vessels larger than 50 feet in length to fish closer to the islands. The Court reached this decision after concluding that NOAA failed to consider the Deeds of Cession. Specifically the Court ruled that, “the Deeds of Cession require the United States to preserve American Samoan cultural fishing practices and that the deeds constitute “any other applicable law” for purposes of the [Magnusson Stevens Act].” continue reading the story here 11:10

Western Pacific territories will have a voice in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence met after the election with Congresswoman Aumua Amata Radewagen—the only Republican delegate to Congress. It was there, that Radewagen’s expertise on island issues and possible role as an adviser to the transition team became clear. Reports of that role began surfacing last week, but it wasn’t until the middle of the weekend, here, that Radewagen issued a statement. Radewagen says she and the Vice President-elect discussed an advisory role, and she later spoke with the transition committee’s vice-chair, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. American Samoa’s freshman Congresswoman made clear at the Pence meeting, that President-elect Trump needs to rescind some of President Obama’s executive orders, including creation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument… audio, read the rest here 13:22

American Somoa misses out on quota transfer fisheries revenues

Honolulu-Fish-Auction-Bluefin-TunaStatements by the governor’s fisheries advisor at the meeting of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council last week indicate that the territory missed out on an opportunity to earn money from allowing Hawaii to use our quota of big eye tuna catch. During the public comment session which followed a report on American Samoa’s fisheries activities at the Council meeting in Honolulu,  Governor Lolo’s adviser on fisheries, Vaamua Henry Sesepasara, spoke up about the big eye quota transfer. This allows Hawaii longliners to buy unused quota limits for big eye catch of the territories of Guam, Northern Marianas and American Samoa. Vaamua said that the Lolo administration was not aware of the big eye quota transfer which was first carried out in 2011 and 2012 under the Togiola administration. Read the story here 14:12

Bill to limit presidential powers to designate monuments

screen_shot_2014-09-26_at_11-11-34_am-0Key US Senators are trying to limit presidential power to designate sweeping national monuments on land and water—an issue that hit home with American Samoa’s fishing industry in the last few years. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Lisa Murkowski and Arizona Senator Jeff Flake have introduced separate bills to curb presidential power under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The law gives the president, sweeping power to designate hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean and millions of acres of land, as national monuments. President Obama established in 2009, and expanded in 2014, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument—the largest marine protected area in the world…covering 370,000 square nautical miles, and encompassing important fishing areas for American Samoa’s fishing industry. Read the rest here 13:57

US Tuna Treaty survives, new deal for 2017 – Tunaboat Association comments on fishing pact

tuna boat samoaThe US Tuna Treaty has survived after 18 negotiation meetings over the last seven years, with the latest one just concluded in Auckland, New Zealand. The multilateral Treaty is important for American Samoa because it allows US puirse seiners that supply our two canneries to fish in the exclusive economic zones of island countries that are close by. Read the rest here  Tunaboat Association comments on fishing pact – The President of the American Tunaboat Association, Brian Hallman, says the fishing agreement reached over the weekend in Zealand between the United States and Pacific Island countries is from the point of view of the US fleet, the  best outcome they could have achieved under difficult circumstances.  Read the rest here  Tri Marine looks to build coalition – Tri Marine International, which operates the Samoa Tuna Processors cannery in Atuu, says it has been anticipating a change in how the US purse seiners would manage access to the tuna fishing grounds in the Western and Central Pacific for several years. Chief Operating Officer of Tri Marine, Joe Hamby, says now that the future of the US South Pacific Tuna Treaty has been resolved, “we will be able to focus on building a coalition of fishing companies and resource owners committed to supporting American Samoa as a regional tuna processing hub.” Read the rest here  19:55

South Pacific Tuna Treaty renegotiation session concluded successfully

tuna boat samoaThe most recent South Pacific Tuna Treaty renegotiation session concluded successfully on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Negotiators from the United States and representatives of the 16 Pacific Island parties reached agreement in principle on changes to the 27-year-old Tuna Treaty and the terms of fishing access for the U.S. purse seine fleet to Pacific Island waters through 2022. The proposed agreement would establish more flexible procedures for commercial cooperation between U.S. industry and Pacific Island parties. The outcome reflects strong cooperation between the parties to the Treaty and relevant stakeholders, and a mutual commitment to the broader positive relationship between the United States and the Pacific Island region. Read the rest here 09:46

Ocean planning meetings at village level urged – Locals push back

listening%20session%20JohnThere should be opportunity for traditional leaders and fisher men and women in the villages to provide their comments on how coastal and ocean resources of American Samoa should be managed. That’s one of the recommendations made by participants at a meeting convened by the Pacific Regional Planning Group, a federal group appointed under presidential executive order, to gather input form local communities to develop a plan for the balances and sustainable management of American Samoa’s seas and coasts. There was resistance from some in the audience in having federal officials convene a meeting in the territory, with no visible involvement and presence of local government and traditional leaders at the gathering last night. Read the rest, Click here 10:05

Silver Bay Seafoods in American Samoa to recruit for their Summer Seafood Processing

silver-bay-seafoodAbout 200 job seekers turned up at the Tradewinds Saturday to learn about job opportunities offered by Silver Bay Seafoods in Alaska, an integrated processor of frozen salmon for domestic and export markets. Two company reps are in the territory to recruit for their Summer Seafood Processing. Most of those who turned up were young people, several of whom are currently working at the canneries. Silver Bay Seafoods is looking for manpower from anywhere it can and has extended job offers to non-US states and foreign countries using special immigration provisions. Link 11:19

Western Pacific – NMFS allows longliners to fish within 12 miles from shore

3249961In a decision issued today, the US National Marine Fisheries Service has allowed locally based longliners to fish within 12 miles from shore.  The federal agency approved a recommendation by the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council to amend the Large vessel Prohibited Area, (LVPA) which currently restircts longliners to fish 50 miles out.  Read the rest here  – American Samoa wants to be part of fish negotiations Read the rest here Pago Pago feels the effects of idle fishing boats Read the rest here 12:04

Canneries look for a list of concessions from American Samoa

Faced with a decline in their competitive advantage, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira says the canneries are seeking concessions from the government and a response is being formulated to help the canneries — the largest private employer in the territory. The canneries and fishing industry in American Samoa are facing serious challenges with the fishing restrictions imposed in June — and since the beginning of 2016, the Forum Fisheries Agency or FFA is no longer issuing fishing licenses to the U.S. fleeting to fish in waters of 17 Pacific island countries under the South Pacific Tuna Treaty. Read the article here 13:58

American Tuna Boat Association – ‘Difficult year’ for purse seiners

hatteras2The president of the American Tuna Boat Association is forecasting a difficult year ahead for purse seiners supplying the two canneries in American Samoa. Brian Hallman, who attended last week’s meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, says its failure to increase fishing days on the high seas is not a good outcome for the US fleet. He says with no fishing on the high seas or in Pacific Island countries’ waters, vessels will either tie up and not fish or leave the western Pacific area. Read the article here 12:19

Governor pleads to Commerce Secretary for help, NMFS maybe leaning towards longliners in LVPA rule

purse seiners amsamTwo posts – “Less time need be spent on researching how dependent we are on tuna and more time must be spent on getting our fleet to high seas waters.“ That’s a statement in a four page letter from Governor Lolo to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker expressing his disappointment, Read the post here Meanwhile, The National Marine Fisheries Service says it’s not ready just yet to decide on lifting large fishing vessel restrictions in a 50-mile prohibited area near American Samoa, Read the post here 09:40

No overfishing of bottomfish in US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

bottom fish western pacificThe Scientific and Statistical Committee, a group of renowned fishery scientists who advise the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, concluded its two-day meeting in Honolulu this week by setting the 2016 and 2017 acceptable biological catches (ABCs) for bottomfish in the US territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The ABCs are the amount of fish that can be harvested annually by the fisheries  over time without causing overfishing of the stock. Read the rest here 12:30

Governor Lolo Moliga relays American Samoa Tuna Industry concerns to Coast Guard

Governor Lolo Moliga has asked that the US Coast Guard inform the American Samoa Fisheries Task Force whenever a fishing boat is held for longer than 24 hours. And that the canneries routinely are frustrated in their fish procurement operations when boat owners or reefer carrier owners refuse to deliver to American Samoa out of concern for what they perceive to be over zealous Coast Guard boarding parties and inspections. The effect of this he said is that fish that could come to our canneries are lost to other markets that are not guarded by the Coast Guard. The governor told the Admiral this is disturbing on multiple levels. Read the rest here 10:36

Ocean Global Fisheries withdraws objection to petition

The Partner and Owner of Ocean Global Fisheries and Sea Global Fisheries, Mr. Douglas Hines, now agrees that the US fleet and vessels operating our of American Samoa may be experiencing a disproportionate burden and is hoping that the National Marine Fisheries Service is able to address the concerns raised in Tri Marine’s petition for exemption from the catch limits on fishing in the high seas. There are 37 US purse seiners fishing in this area of which only 18 deliver their catches to the local canneries. Mr. Hines’ companies represent purse seiners that dont send their catches here. Read the rest here 12:21

Local operators unhappy with long-line fishing changes in American Samoa

Collision Am SamoaRecent changes to fishing regulations have not gone down well with local operators in American Samoa after the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council reduced the long-line fishing boat limit from 50 miles offshore (80 kilometres) to just 12 miles (19 kilometres). Audio Report, Click here to listen 08:36

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council Address Hawai’i, American Samoa, Protected Species Issues

HONOLULU (18 March 2015) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management CouncilWPFMC sidebar concluded the second day of its three-day meeting in Honolulu yesterday with recommendations for federally managed fisheries in Hawai’i and American Samoa as well as protected species. Federally managed fisheries operate seaward of state waters, which generally encompasses waters 0 to 3 miles from shore. Read the rest here 08:03

American Samoa long line fishery faces “potential collapse” says WCPFMC

“What we’ve seen over the past decade or so, is that the small vessel fleet has substantially decreased”, he said and explained that information requested with the U.S. National Marine Fishery Service shows there were “zero longline alia” active last year.He added that the fishing grounds that were reserved in 2002 for small longline alia “is essentially under utilized… because it’s not being fished too much by the small vessels”. He also noted that the large longliner fleet numbers have also declined over the years to only 19 active ones in 2014. Read the rest here 07:27

American Samoa sets up fisheries task force

The Government of American Samoa has set up a fisheries task force to track developments posing a threat to its canneries. The task force is charged with tracking all fisheries-related developments, policies, treaties, activities and issues to ensure that the economic security and competitive advantages of the local canneries are not compromised.Read the rest here 21:31

Groups sue feds over Pacific bigeye fishing rule

earthjustice $upereco-manThe complaint says the rule invents separate catch limits for American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The lawsuit says each U.S. territory can then allocate half of its catch limit to Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels. Read  the rest here 17:01

Professional Environmental Litigation Hitmen oppose ahi increases in Western Pacific- To Sue NMFS AGAIN!

Hawaii’s longline fleet may be rejoicing over a new opportunity to catch ahi, under a new agreement that allows them access to quota from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Guam. Earthjustice is examining legal options and is likely to take The National Marine Fisheries Service to court for approving the rule change, Henkin said. Read the rest here 17:38

Pacific fishing interests oppose Obama’s plan to expand marine reserve – I mean, What the Hell is an Extra 700,000 Square Miles anyway?!!!

“Fishing for tunas mean there are fewer tunas,” Norse said in an interview, adding that the millions of seabirds that nest and forage in the area depend on the area’s tuna population. “We would like there to be more tunas in this ecosystem, because they play an important role in that ecosystem.” Must be seabirds eat tuna!  Read more here 16:51

Fishery Scientists and Managers to Address Fishery Collapse in American Samoa, Overfishing in the Western Pacific Region

HONOLULU (17 June 2014) The American Samoa longline fishery is suffering from a potential economic collapse. In 2013, many vessels in the fishery operated at a loss as catches of South Pacific albacore were insufficient to cover operating costs. This and other issues,,, Read more here 21:00

American Samoa: Strong views about fishing rights

Utulei and Fagatogo resident Christina Lutu-Sanchez urged alia vessel owners and fishermen not to label owners and fishermen of longline vessels as “they” or people from “outside” because they are not. Tuala-uta resident Esther Fiatoa points out that the waters around American Samoa are not owned by the federal government but by the Samoan people.Read more, and two audios here  16:48

Longliners vs alia fishermen – Read more here

American Samoa DMWR Director reports on local issues

A crown of thorns or alamea outbreak and the removal of sea cucumbers were some of the issues the director of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources highlighted during her statement at the 31st US Coral Reef Task Force Meeting. DMWR Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga is a member of the All Island Committee of the Task Force, which comprises American Samoa, CNMI, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Read more here talaneia.com  16:44

American Samoa government unsure about helping fishing sector

PAGOPAGO, American Samoa — American Samoa’s Governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, says he is sympathetic and wants to help local fishing vessels but he says the canneries are the government’s main focus. Last week, for sale signs went up on longliner fishing boats anchored in the main dock and at the canneries. Read [email protected]  13:44

American Samoa Government Asked To Subsidize Longline Fleet, a significant contributor to the local economy

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 22, 2013) – On behalf of the ASG Shipyard Service Authority board, chairman David Robinson recently proposed to the Governor’s Office a fuel subsidy or further reduction in fuel costs to help the American Samoa longline fleet, which is facing low prices received for their catches. READ [email protected]  17:59

American Samoa longline fleet to post all fishing vessels for sale as the future of this fishery or support for the fishery does not seem imminent.

Owners of longliners in the territory say they have made their concerns known to Governor Lolo Moliga since February of this year.  In a press release issued yesterday the boat owners said a consensus to tie up all of the American Samoa longline fleet was reached at a meeting between vessel owners last Thursday. Read [email protected]  23:56

American Samoa: Samoa PM says warming waters good for fisheries

The Samoan Prime Minister says warmer water caused by climate change is driving fish to its waters from the Western Pacific, which will benefit its fishing industry in the future. [email protected]  07:20