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StarKist Says It Cannot Improve Low Albacore Prices

StarKist has told the American Samoa longline fleet that while they understand the reasons local boats are not out fishing, they too are facing difficulties in trying to stay on top of global demand, reports Talanei.
The Tautai o Samoa Longline & Fishing Association, a group of local boat owners that supply fish to StarKist, asked the cannery earlier this month to consider a separate price classification for fish caught by US flagged vessels.
Boat owners say the continuous decline in albacore prices, the current low catch rate, the increasing cost of fuel, bait and other operating costs have made it financially unfeasible for them to go out fishing.
They say they are left with no choice but to hold vessels currently in port as well other vessels at sea once their current trip is completed until the albacore price rises to the point where the boats can be profitable again.
According to the boat owners, within a few months the price of albacore, which is what most local boats provide to the cannery, has dropped by almost $1,000 per metric ton. While StarKist has raised the price for yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack, boat owners asked for another price increase or how much they get for supplying these fish species to StarKist.
They also asked for a separate price classification for fishing caught by US flag vessels and required for US military and other US federally-funded programs.
StarKist Manager of Seafood Procurement Justin Yu replied that there is nothing StarKist can do as the price is determined globally.
Yu said as they mentioned in their February Price Announcement, StarKist is facing a difficult situation of securing their competitiveness due to
continuous down-trend of fish price and high inventory situations. He said in order to stay competitive, StarKist has to follow the market trend.

Regarding a separate price classification, Yu said this is difficult to do considering the low demand required from US military and other US federally-funded programs.
The Tautai o Samoa Association has also written to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for help in reducing or waiving Port charges and other fees assessed on the longline fleet to help in their operations.