Tokelau, Am. Samoa Cannery Enter Into Fishing Agreement

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Tri Marine signs MOU allowing longline vessel access

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 5, 2014) – Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is pleased with Tokelau’s decision to enter into a fishing agreement with Tri Marine International and the governor is expected to mention the agreement when he meets in Apia with Ulu o Tokelau, Kuresa Nasau.

Nasau and Tri Marine signed on Monday a Memorandum of Understanding which will increase the economic benefits of the tuna fishery for Tokelau, as well as provide enhanced fishery monitoring and guaranteed long-term access to affiliated fishing vessels.

As part of the MOU, the Tokelau government will provide fishing access to longline vessels targeting both albacore and the tropical tuna, which will supply Tri Marine’s new tuna processing plant in American Samoa. (See Wednesday’s edition for details.)

Responding to Samoa News inquiries on the administration’s reaction to the MOU between Tokelau and Tri Marine, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira first pointed out that the visit last Friday to the territory by officials and representatives of the Pacific islands reflects collaboration between the two canneries — Tri Marine and StarKist— and the American Samoa Government "to preserve the competitive advantage of our two major economic assets, the canneries".

"The thrust of this collaboration is to secure the assistance of the Independent Island microstates with regard to allowing the US fishing fleet, especially the locally based fishing vessels, to fish within their Exclusive Economic Zones, or EEZs, and to compel foreign fishing vessels fishing within their EEZ to off-load their catches at our two tuna canneries," he said.

"Thus the governor is pleased and appreciative of the decision by Tokelau to enter into the MOU with Tri-Marine to ensure that the above aspirations are achieved," Iulogologo pointed out.

Lolo left yesterday for Apia to meet with Nasau to finalize a proposed MOU between the governments of American Samoa and Tokelau, which was first discussed between the two leaders at a meeting in late October this year in Pago Pago.

Iulogologo said this MOU will be signed between the governor and Nasau, who is in Apia for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting, which closed yesterday (Samoa time).

The signing of this MOU between the two leaders "also supports the relationship established by the contents of the Tri-Marine-Tokelau MOU," Iulogologo said. "One of the key areas for cooperation between the two countries is fisheries development to ensure that mutual benefits are created with sensitivity towards resource preservation."

He also says that the fisheries development issue is important as the governor wants to make sure that all local boat owners benefit from any and all agreements.

Asked if details of the ASG/Tokelau MOU will be made public, Iulogologo said that "once the MOU is officially signed the contents will be made available to the media."

While in Apia, the governor will also meet with Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Samoa’s Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, he added.

In late October this year, Nasau and his four-member delegation were in the territory to discuss various issues beneficial to both sides. Following the meeting with the governor, Nasau told Samoa News that both sides agreed to further discuss issues of mutual agreement for American Samoa and Tokelau, under a proposed MOU which needed to be finalized.

"Among those issues include development, trade, transportation as well as other developments that include Swains Island — such as transportation," Nasau told Samoa News at the time.

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