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TMI: US Samoa Should Partner With Other Pacific Islands American Samoa, April 17, 13

Tri-Marine International official Joe Hamby says American Samoa can partner with other Pacific Island countries that have rich tuna resources in order to improve tuna management in the South Pacific.
During the dedication of the 5,000-metric ton cold storage for Samoa Tuna Processors last Friday, Hamby said that local longliners and purse seiners need access to the regional fishing grounds because that’s where the tuna is.

Joe Hamby - TMI Group Managing Director

He says tuna is a renewable resource, but it’s scarce. He cited that between 2009 and 2011 the tuna catch in the western and central Pacific declined by over 10% or more than 280,000 tons.

He says the Starkist cannery and Tri Marine cold store will need about 160,000 tons of tuna a year to operate and without tuna, their new facility in American Samoa is useless.

Hamby,Tri-Marine’s Managing Director, said there is a growing trend for resource owners or Pacific Island countries with tuna rich EEZ’s neighboring American Samoa to make local unloading and processing a condition of access to their waters.

He says American Samoa’s EEZ is quite small and the tonnage of tuna caught in local waters is rather limited about 5,000 tons per year or about 0.2% of the catch caught in the western and central Pacific.
Hamby believes the key to tuna development in the South Pacific is to utilize American Samoa’s infrastructure, such as the canneries, with other Pacific Island countries' rich tuna supply.