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American Samoa Wants To Service More Tuna Longliners American Samoa, September 18, 13

American Samoa is hoping to attract longline tuna vessels back to its shipyards, while seeking USD 4 million to build a second facility to service the ships.
Longline tuna vessels were once the core of the American Samoa tuna industry, whereas today the majority of business comes from purse seiners. The Shipyard Service Authority will now focus on marketing strategies for the longliners that have gone to other Pacific countries to return to American Samoa.
The authority’s board chairman, David Robinson revealed during the Fono joint budget hearing that the shipyard’s fiscal year 2014 budget was close to USD 2.1 million.
He explained that one of the issues that the shipyard had been facing with revenues was the fact that “we are having to deal with equipment which is 30 years old and keeps breaking down.” He said that this can take them out of operation for up to two weeks.
Robinson stated that the shipyard has requested to the governor’s office that they be able to use some Capital Improvement Project Funds (around USD 4.8 million) in order to build a second 500 ton slipway.
“At the present time, once we pull up a purse seiner, it takes up the entire 3000 ton platform and we cannot pull up any of the smaller longliners. There are more longliners…than purse seiners,” he noted.
“So we need to pay attention to the needs of the longline fleet and encourage them to come back here.”
Only a small number of longine tuna vessels have remained in the area, while most have gone to Fiji, the Cook Islands, and other ports in the Pacific because of operating costs, the price of fish and regulations from the U.S. Coast Guard and Port Administration.
With the establishment of Tri-Marine in American Samoa, the shipyard now has nine purse seiners to work on, while another five are under construction in Europe and will also be stationed in the territory. Robinson still emphasized the importance in drawing in business from the longline industry.