The Lolo Lemanu administration is said to be working with leading Republican Senators on ways to help the two local canneries while there’s uncertainty over where their fish supplies will come from.
This as US tuna boats have stopped fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean because they no longer have licenses.
KHJ News asked the Governor’s Office of any measures taken by the administration to protect the canneries from a shutdown when they can no longer acquire fish.
Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, the governor’s executive assistant and member of the American Samoa Fisheries Task Force says the governor, Fono leaders, and Congresswoman Aumua Amata are working with leading Republican Senators who facilitated the extension of the 30(A) tax credits.
He said a request was also made to open eligibility for the tax credits to Trimarine and all other companies creating new jobs and
contributing to the expansion of American Samoa’s economic base.
StarKist is the only company in American Samoa that qualifies for the 30 (A) tax incentive.
About 30 US tuna boats which were licensed to fish in nearby waters stopped fishing December 31st.
Estimates by the Fisheries Task Force put spending by each vessel for one trip to Pago Pago at about $400,000. This money will not be coming if the fishing boats are not going out to fish.
Iulogologo says vessel owners expect to profit from fishing but at this point it cost more for the vessels to go out fishing than the revenues generation from their catch because of the very low price of fish.
KHJ News asked if StarKist and Samoa Tuna Processors have communicated their situation to the governor.
Iulogologo says he was informed that StarKist’s CEO is planning a trip to the territory in the latter part of February to meet with Governor Lolo.
Joe Hamby, Chief Operating Officer of Tri Marine International, parent company of Samoa Tuna Processors is a member of the Fisheries Task Force and he shares with members of the Task Force Trimarine’s position.
Starkist is a member of the same task force.
According to Iulogologo it’s through the Task Force that ASG collaborates with the canneries on ways to combat challenges affecting them.