UTULEI, AMERICAN SAMOA (18 October 2017) The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council opened its 171st meeting yesterday at the Rex Lee Auditorium in Utulei, American Samoa, with remarks from Gov. Lolo Moliga about the Territory’s fisheries followed by remarks about the nation’s fisheries by Samuel Rauch III, NOAA Fisheries Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs.
- Continue the Internal Revenue Code section 30(A) Tax Credit (American Samoa Economic Development Credit);
- Ease fishing prohibitions for American Samoa-based US purse-seine vessels fishing on the high seas (i.e., beyond the US exclusive economic zone, generally 0 to 200 miles off American shores);
- Increase fishing days for US purse-seine vessels fishing in the US exclusive economic zone;
- Re-strengthen the U.S. Tariff provision Headnote 3(a), which provides American Samoa canneries with duty free access to the U.S. markets;
- Renegotiate international fishing treaties, and
- Revise the North America Free Trade Agreement.
- Fisheries account for the majority of the America Samoa’s gross domestic product and represent the largest private-sector employer. Recently, one of two tuna canneries in the Territory closed due to lack of fish supply and access to fishing grounds among other factors. One hundred percent of the local longline catch is delivered to the local StarKist cannery.
- The US seafood trade deficit is estimated to be about $11 billion, with the US importing about 80 percent of the seafood it consumes.
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Secretary of Commerce appointees from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawai`i governors:Edwin Ebisui Jr. (chair); Michael Duenas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (vice chair); John Gourley, Micronesian Environmental Services (CNMI) (vice chair); Christinna Lutu-Sanchez, commercial fisherman (American Samoa) (vice chair); Michael Goto, United Fishing Agency (Hawai’i); Dean Sensui, film producer (Hawai’i); Archie Soliai, StarKist (American Samoa). Designated state officials: Suzanne Case, Hawai`i Department of Land & Natural Resources; Ray Roberto, CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources; Matt Sablan, Guam Department of Agriculture; Henry Sesepasra, American Samoa Department of Marine & Wildlife Resources. Designated federal officials (voting): Michael Tosatto, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office. Designated federal officials (non-voting): Matthew Brown, USFWS; Michael Brakke, US Department of State; RADM Vincent B. Atkins, USCG 14th District.