The owners of StarKist Samoa, StarKist Company, are pleased that an agreement has been reached that will allow the U.S. flagged purse seine fleet to resume fishing in their traditional fishing grounds near American Samoa for 2016..
A statement from the company says StarKist’s business model is highly dependent on the U.S. fleet making direct delivery of fish to its Atuu cannery.
StarKist Vice President and spokesperson, Michelle Faist says, “This is welcomed news for us and for the American Samoan economy, which is highly dependent on the tuna industry.
We want to extend our thanks to the negotiators on both sides of the table who made it possible, including the American Tunaboat Association, the boat owners of the U.S. Purse Seine fleet, the U.S. Department of State and the Pacific Island Parties.”
But Faist indicated that there still concerns for the future.
She says, “While this is a positive development in the short-term, there is still much work to be done from a long-term perspective to ensure that American Samoa remains competitive with other manufacturing locations where costs related to labor, fish and energy are substantially lower. The restructuring of a South Pacific Tuna Treaty for 2017 should be a top priority to ensure that the U.S. fleet has continuous access to their traditional fishing grounds in both the high seas and EEZ’s of the Pacific Island Parties.”