04 October 2015

Am. Samoa Governor Critical Of (U.S.) Coast Guard’s Overzealous Enforcement


Samoa News

Lolo says fishing vessels being deterred from dropping catch 
at canneries

By Fili Sagapolutele

(PAGO PAGO, American Samoa)  During a meeting last week, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga reiterated his concerns to US Coast Guard officials about the impact the federal agency’s enforcement practices in the territory have had, which discourage fishing vessels coming into the Port of Pago Pago to unload their catch for the canneries — which are the economic backbone of American Samoa.

Last month, the governor wrote to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Vincent B. Atkins, commander of the USCG District 14 Honolulu, calling for the USCG to be sensitive to American Samoa’s dependency on the tuna industry when performing their duties, and urged the Coast Guard to work together with the territorial government to better serve the people.

The governor’s request followed an incident where two fishing boats were detained indefinitely because of suspected environmental violations, and he has been told that canneries are routinely frustrated in their fish procurement operations when boat owners or reefer carriers refuse to deliver to American Samoa "out of concern for what they perceive to be overzealous USCG boarding parties and inspectors."

Last week the governor met — on island — with Coast Guard Capt. Shannon Gilreath, the USCG Commander of Sector Honolulu, and captains of the Port of Honolulu and Port of Pago Pago. At the meeting the governor repeated his concern about the impact of the enforcement practices of the USCG, which is discouraging many fishing vessels from entering Pago Pago Harbor to unload their catch.

"This affects the canneries and threatens suspension of production, which translates to purchasing power reduction thus affecting all of the private businesses as well as government revenue," according to the Governor’s Office in response to Samoa News inquiries.

Gilreath acknowledged the Governor's concern and said "we will work collaboratively to address enforcement practices which discourage fishing vessels to off-load their catches at the canneries."

While on island, Gilreath also met with the American Samoa Fishery Task Force and the Board of Marine Inspectors, which comes under the purview of the Port Administration. Tri Marine International officials also attended these two meetings, and Tri Marine’s chief operating officer John Hamby was among the company officials at the meeting. (Tri Marine and StarKist Samoa are members of the task force and the Board of Marine Inspectors).

Tri Marine spokesperson Heidi Happonen said last week that the task force and Board of Marine Inspectors "are working closely and collaboratively with the Coast Guard for the benefit of the Territory’s tuna industry, which includes the fishing boats that deliver tuna to American Samoa."

Its local operations include a US flagged purse seiner fleet and the Samoa Tuna Processors cannery.

Samoa News has been told by at least one captain of a purse seiner vessel, which used to be based out of American Samoa that over the last several months they no longer come here, due to the over-the-top USCG inspections, choosing instead to ‘transship’ in Samoa, as well as pick up their supplies, etc.

Meanwhile, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has yet to issue a decision on Tri Marine’s petition that would allow US flagged purse seine vessels, which unload their catch at the local canneries, to fish in the US EZZ and on the high seas.

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Am. Samoa Governor Critical Of Coast Guard’s 
Overzealous Enforcement

Lolo says fishing vessels being deterred from dropping catch at canneries

By Fili Sagapolutele

(PAGO PAGO, American Samoa)  During a meeting last week, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga reiterated his concerns to US Coast Guard officials about the impact the federal agency’s enforcement practices in the territory have had, which discourage fishing vessels coming into the Port of Pago Pago to unload their catch for the canneries — which are the economic backbone of American Samoa.

Last month, the governor wrote to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Vincent B. Atkins, commander of the USCG District 14 Honolulu, calling for the USCG to be sensitive to American Samoa’s dependency on the tuna industry when performing their duties, and urged the Coast Guard to work together with the territorial government to better serve the people.

The governor’s request followed an incident where two fishing boats were detained indefinitely because of suspected environmental violations, and he has been told that canneries are routinely frustrated in their fish procurement operations when boat owners or reefer carriers refuse to deliver to American Samoa "out of concern for what they perceive to be overzealous USCG boarding parties and inspectors."

Last week the governor met — on island — with Coast Guard Capt. Shannon Gilreath, the USCG Commander of Sector Honolulu, and captains of the Port of Honolulu and Port of Pago Pago. At the meeting the governor repeated his concern about the impact of the enforcement practices of the USCG, which is discouraging many fishing vessels from entering Pago Pago Harbor to unload their catch.

"This affects the canneries and threatens suspension of production, which translates to purchasing power reduction thus affecting all of the private businesses as well as government revenue," according to the Governor’s Office in response to Samoa News inquiries.

Gilreath acknowledged the Governor's concern and said "we will work collaboratively to address enforcement practices which discourage fishing vessels to off-load their catches at the canneries."

While on island, Gilreath also met with the American Samoa Fishery Task Force and the Board of Marine Inspectors, which comes under the purview of the Port Administration. Tri Marine International officials also attended these two meetings, and Tri Marine’s chief operating officer John Hamby was among the company officials at the meeting. (Tri Marine and StarKist Samoa are members of the task force and the Board of Marine Inspectors).

Tri Marine spokesperson Heidi Happonen said last week that the task force and Board of Marine Inspectors "are working closely and collaboratively with the Coast Guard for the benefit of the Territory’s tuna industry, which includes the fishing boats that deliver tuna to American Samoa."

Its local operations include a US flagged purse seiner fleet and the Samoa Tuna Processors cannery.

Samoa News has been told by at least one captain of a purse seiner vessel, which used to be based out of American Samoa that over the last several months they no longer come here, due to the over-the-top USCG inspections, choosing instead to ‘transship’ in Samoa, as well as pick up their supplies, etc.

Meanwhile, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has yet to issue a decision on Tri Marine’s petition that would allow US flagged purse seine vessels, which unload their catch at the local canneries, to fish in the US EZZ and on the high seas.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have worked for Tri Marine in American Samoa on a few of the tuna boats I sailed a paper chief which allowed trimarine to sail the vessel with a foreign c/e and foreign engine crew. There were many problems on the vessel sewage system .To my dislike they were never repaired may of my suggestion went unheralded do to other higher priority items. I really don't understand the companies logistic to say the least. There had been times the hazardous waste would be off loaded at dockside and ship to there warehouse for pickup. I have out fishing with them on the vessels only to see them cheat as to were the catches were made and who's maker buoy they took up on there raft fishing. I have been on there vessel to only have a relief captain threaten the crew as to keep quite where the fish were caught. Quote I read all the emails. I don't give a dam where there are caught only need to fill the boat..one more idea that needs fixing never could understand why the uscg would allow diesel fuel to be stored in the fish wells than burned of a fuel for the vessel only to have the fish wells containing the fuel to be some what pressured washed out and the oily mess pumped overboard