STARKIST CONFIRMS PLANS FOR TUNA PROCESSING PLANT IN ASAU, SAMOA

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By Aeo'ainuu Aleki

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 30, 2000 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---StarKist Samoa will set up a fish processing plant in Asau, Savai‘i, Samoa to supplement its cannery operations at Satala, American Samoa very soon, according to StarKist Samoa General Manager Phil Thirkell.

This, he said, will take place immediately after meetings now under way with the Samoan government and Asau village are concluded, if the negotiations are successful.

"Things so far have been encouraging, and we hope to close off a land acquisition deal soon with the Asau Council," he told Samoa News.

The desired land is in the Asau Harbor area.

"The plan is to utilize the resources there (Asau) to support the local (American Samoa) StarKist operation," he continued.

The project plans are two-fold: the first stage involves the processing of albacore and having it frozen and shipped to the Satala, American Samoa plant for canning and export. This division will employ more than 100 people.

The second stage involves a fish loining process. The prepared fish will be shipped frozen to the Satala plant for further processing and export. This more-involved procedure is expected to eventually employ more than 1,600 people.

Thirkell pointed out that establishing the two operations may take years but they both will increase the tonnage of fish to be processed at the Satala cannery.

Thirkell said it was too early to discuss details including wage structures for the Savai‘i plant, the effect on the current Satala plant's more than 3,000 employees, the purse seiner fleet supplying the Asau operation and other matters.

But Thirkell said the Asau operation would be of help to the Samoan albacore fishermen who have been selling to the American Samoa canneries for the last five years, earning millions in foreign exchange for the Samoan government.

"I would like to invite them to sell to us at Asau when things are finalized," he concluded.

Asau is a coastal village in the northwestern part of Savai‘i. It has a harbor that was man-made in the 1960s to enable sea transportation of lumber milled by a U.S. company in the virgin forests of the area.

The company has changed hands, but the new lumber operation continues to use the port, as do other businesses.

StarKist Samoa is the largest private employer in the U.S. territory, with more than 3,000 employees. In addition to employment of local residents and community service projects, it has provided corporate tax advance payments regularly in recent years at the government's request, to help out with government cash flow problems.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

 

AMERICAN SAMOA TUNA CANNERY WANTS TO BUILD SAMOA PROCESSING PLANT

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 27, 2000 – Hawaii Public Radio)---One of American Samoa’s tuna canneries is negotiating with the independent Samoa government to build a fish processing plant there.

StarKist Samoa wants to build the plant in the coastal village of Asau on the island of Savai‘i. It is part of the same island chain as American Samoa.

That operation would supplement the cannery in American Samoa, where it is the largest employer.

The new plant would process albacore, freeze it and ship it to American Samoa for canning and exporting. The plant would employ 1,700 people.

Samoa fishermen have earned millions of dollars in recent years selling their catch to the American Samoa canneries.

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