Lt. Gov. optimistic feds understand impact of marine sanctuary


Lieutenant Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale is hopeful that off island participants of last week’s workshop on the proposed National Marine Sanctuary in the Pacific Remote Island Area left with a better understanding of the potential effects of the sanctuary designation.

Speaking at the workshop closing, Talauega emphasized the importance of this understanding  for American Samoa, noting that the impact goes beyond economics, and extends to the preservation of the Samoan people as a fishing community.

“The importance of the tuna industry in American Samoa and our local cannery cannot be overstated,” he said. “It is the pillar of our economy, it is the employer of thousands, and it is what feeds our families. Any action that threatens the survival of the fishing industry threatens the survival of our fragile economy.”

The Lt. Governor was optimistic in finding a solution that would ensure the preservation  of oceans without crippling the fishing industry, the economy, and the unique culture of American Samoa.

He announced that the American Samoa Government would be submitting a letter summarizing the workshop’s discussions and reiterating the territory’s opposition to further restrictions on commercial fishing in the PRIA region.

The Lt. Governor told the federal officials attending the workshop, “We hope that when you go back to Washington  D.C. and explain to them, that they can find a way where environmentalists and us here in American Samoa can both get what we want.”

Governor Lemanu and First Lady Ella hosted a reception for the NOAA officials at Government House, Wednesday.