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Gov. names new membership for Fisheries Task Force

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga has reconstituted the membership of the American Samoa Fisheries Task Force, which was first established in 2014 by the Lolo Administration, and chaired by local businessman, Solip Hong, president of K.S. Mart Inc.

Lemanu has reappointed Hong to the new panel as one of the two “private industry” members. The other private sector member is Taulapapa Willie Sword, who heads the local operations of Pacific Energy, according to the governor’s Oct. 19th memorandum, which reconstituted the task force, that was established to secure the efficacy of the cannery and fishing industries in the territory.

The governor explained that the task force is charged with tracking all fisheries-related developments, policies, treaties, activities and any other relevant issues, with the primary goal to protect the economic security and the competitive advantages of the local canning tuna industry.

“The Fisheries Task Force shall present its strategies and recommendations to me for review and approval prior to execution,” the governor said in the memo, which made no mention as to who will serve as chair and vice chair — or whether the panel will elect its own leadership.

Representing ASG on the task force are, Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega; Marine and Wildlife director Taotasi Archie Soliai; Port Administration director Christopher King; Commerce director Petti Tagipo Matila; Attorney General Fainu’ulelei Falefatu Alailima-Utu; and American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency director Lefaga Fa’amao Asalele Jr.

For the private sector the following members were named: American Samoa Chamber of Commerce chairperson, Luisa Kuaea; Elvin Eo Mokoma - commercial fisherman representing Tutuila and commercial fishers; Rep. Tiaoalii Fauagiga Sai - representing Manu’a; professional fisherman Peter Gurr, representing Tutuila and professional fisherman, Keith Ah Soon representing Manu’a; and long-line fisherman, Edgar Feliciano.

Lemanu called on his cabinet members to provide full cooperation and support to the members of the task force.