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U.S. Samoa To Host Crucial Meeting On FAD Fishing

American Samoa will host next week the 144th meeting of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) and issues dealing with American Samoa are on the agenda.

To be held at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium, the WPRFMC meeting runs from Mar. 24 to 26 and the council has issued an open invitation to the public to attend these meetings.

One of the 12-issues on the agenda for discussion is the U.S. purse seine use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the U.S. Pacific exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which has attracted much attention from boat owners and fishermen.

WPRFMC spokesperson Sylvia Spalding said on Friday this issue will be discussed on Mar. 26 during the Pelagics portion of the meeting.

According to a WPRFMC briefing provided to Samoa News (which is also now posted on their website), “U.S. purse seine vessels fish primarily on fish aggregating devices (FADs), which can result in high  catches of juvenile tuna and unwanted fish.”

The Council has taken action to recommend FADs be defined as floating objects that have been purposefully deployed, enhanced or instrumented, and that all FADs be marked with the owner’s name and vessel identification and registered with federal National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

After reviewing available information and hearing public comments, the Council is expected to take final action regarding whether to restrict or prohibit the use of FADs by purse seine vessels in some or all U.S. EEZ waters of the Western Pacific Region, with a possible exception for U.S. built hull purse seine vessels fishing.