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APIA, Samoa (February 13, 2000 – Samoa Observer)---Increased foreign exchange earnings from fish exports have prompted the Cabinet to approve the adoption of a partnership approach to promote the fishing industry.

According to a Cabinet statement, receipts from fish exports in 1998 totaled $24.5 million for 5,072 metric tons, whereas $12 million was earned in 1996 for 1,700 metric tons of fish.

(NOTE: Samoa Tala 3.091 = US$ 1.00 on February 16, 2000.)

Cabinet has acknowledged this achievement by approving the establishment of a Commercial Fishing Management Advisory Committee. Its aim is to encourage the cooperation of all stakeholders in the fishing industry.

The committee will oversee the involvement of interested parties, including exporters, fisheries managers and relevant government departments that are engaged in the process of developing and implementing offshore commercial fisheries policies. The committee will work towards achieving greater awareness and acceptability of offshore fisheries through interaction and consultation with stakeholder groups.

The committee members also will endeavor to ensure that offshore commercial fisheries resources are managed in a responsible and sustainable manner, look at ways to optimize economic benefits and help assure they maintain long-term economic viability.

Doing that, the Cabinet reported, the committee will ensure that the community derives maximum benefits from offshore commercial fisheries.

Other objectives are to minimize the risk of potential seafood safety hazards in domestic and overseas consumption, facilitate the export of fish from Samoa and lastly to identify infrastructure requirements, including mooring facilities, for the future development of the offshore fishing industry.

The new committee will be chaired by the Minister of Agriculture.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

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