After being briefed on the outcome of the negotiations between the US Government and Pacific Island countries for a new fisheries treaty, Governor Lolo Moliga said the agreement to extend access under the South Pacific Tuna Treaty for another 6 years is significant for American Samoa and a big shot in the arm of our local economy and tuna industry in particular.
He says it also provides significant benefits to our neighboring Pacific island countries and territories which in turn benefit American Samoa as a member of the Pacific community.
The two American Samoa representatives on the US delegation to the talks Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale and the Governor’s Fisheries Task Force Adviser Vaamua Henry Sesepasara yesterday briefed the government on the outcome of the latest round of negotiations for the treaty held last week in Auckland, New Zealand.
The parties reached an agreement in principle on fishing access terms over the next 6 years.
The agreement guarantees access to nearby fishing grounds for U.S flag purse seiners operating in the Western and Central Pacific, most of which supply fish for the local tuna canneries.
A new cost structure to replace the vessel day scheme was also agreed to.
The agreement must still be approved by the US Government and the island countries,
Governor Lolo said “the importance of this Treaty of American Samoa cannot be overstated.”
“Without access to the most fertile fishing grounds near our islands, our tuna canneries will certainly suffer.”
He gave his fa’amalo and congratulations to all the parties involved in the negotiations including members of the U.S delegation, Forum Fisheries Agency, and fellow Pacific countries and territories
He was especially grateful to the U.S State Department for affording American Samoa a seat in these important discussions.
He pointed out that for the last 5 rounds of negotiations, American Samoa has sent a representative to participate and assist in these deliberations.
He hopes the territory’s participation has been useful to the cause and played a small role in reaching this great result.