On March 13, 2015 the scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council recommended management measures for longline fisheries in American Samoa and other US Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. The first recommended measure looks to establish an exemption area within American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA). In these area about 16,817 square nm would be opened to federally permitted American Samoa longline vessels of 50 feet or greater, while limiting them from 11.3% of the US exclusive economic zone around American Samoa. This measure would be design to help with economic hardships for the remaining 19 large longline vessels in the American Samoa fleet that mainly go after albacore tuna which makes up 80% of their catch, followed by yellowfin and bigeye tuna and mahimahi ( dolphinfish). Having these exemption areas could potentially provide access to more fishing areas that are closer to shore which would lower the cost of vessels going out. The fish that are caught by the fleets go to local canneries which provide countless jobs for people in the territory.
The second measure recommended would look to set an annual catch limit of 5,425 metric tons for Southern Pacific albacore in the US EEZ around American Samoa. The third measure recommended would also look to establish an annual catch limit of 2000 metric tons for longline caught bigeye tuna for American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The Council will consider these recommendation at its 162nd council meeting that will be held on March 16th – 18th.
information for the Council meeting www.wpcouncil.org/category/upcoming-council-and-advisory-body-meetings/.
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council logo: https://ih.constantcontact.com/fs115/1112168023679/img/57.jpg?a=1120297002019
Tuna Picture: https://www.findeatdrink.com/Index/Purveyors/Entries/2011/7/5_wild_pacific_albacore_tuna_files/albacore2-2.jpg