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Boat Owner Holds Congressman Faleomavaega Responsible For Selling Out American Samoa

Tuna boat owner in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Carlos Sanchez, has written a couple of opinion articles on the website tunaseiners.com holding congressman Faleomavaega responsible for the closure of Chicken of the Sea cannery and the fact that other American companies won’t invest in the territory – making a great part of the population lose their jobs.

According to him, Mr. Faleomavaega helped Bumble Bee and Thai Union to put together a fleet of tuna purse-seiners and gave them the right to process the fish in any country without losing their American identity. 

As a Samoan boat owner, Mr. Sanchez states that he was completely fooled by what he calls “ingenious scheme” and has doubts if the companies were just using American Samoa’s congressman to help them process their tuna in countries with very low wages, or if he was aware of their plans.

The new fleet sails under American flag and has American Samoa as their hailing port. However, Mr. Sanchez believes that if the tuna caught is not being delivered inside the island that should no longer happen.

He points out the fact that U.S. Congress accepted the new fleet to have foreign crew only as long as they were operating in and out American Samoa waters.

Those vessels have never been there, even though their fishing licenses belong to the country. Another trick shutting down Samoa from the advantages of the tuna industry, he continues.  

Wrapping up, Mr. Sanchez expressed his views on how the current situation could be converted for America Samoa’s benefit. He believes that wage-levels should be correlated to production capacity within the canneries of each employee. In addition, the government should subsidize the tuna cannery and tuna purse-seiners operating out of American Samoa should have benefits in fuel prices.

Even though Mr. Sanchez invites people from the tuna business to brainstorm the American Samoa situation, in a quest for solutions that will have a lower impact on the population, he firmly sends his message to congressman Faleomavaega: “You did it – You fix it”.