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Tautai O Samoa joins with governor and others opposing proposed sanctuary designation

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Members of locally-based, Tautai O Samoa Longline and Fishing Association, have joined ASG officials and others in the community in voicing their opposition to the proposed sanctuary designation of the Pacific Remote Island Areas — a move that would expand Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument.

“The closure of these fishing grounds will cause a trickle-down effect and have an impact that reaches farther than the proposed Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument expansion,” wrote the group’s president Krista Haleck in a May 24 comment letter to the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The actions and impacts cannot be looked at in isolation,” said Haleck, who pointed out that the expansion of the already expanded Marine National Monument throughout the Pacific “will be detrimental” to the US Purse Seine Fleet and negatively impact American Samoa's economy including the American Samoa-based U.S Longline fishing fleet.

“The proposed closure lessens the fishing grounds for the US fleet in areas that they have traditionally fished and which are in close operational proximity to deliver to American Samoa,” Haleck wrote.

“As a result of any increased restrictions, the US Purse Seine fleet will be forced to fish farther away which adds to trip costs and will make it more likely that they will deliver to other canneries,” according to the group’s president.

Furthermore, each delivery the US Purse Seiners make to other ports will lessen the economic support to American Samoa — which is a vulnerable developing US Territory in the Pacific that is highly dependent on fisheries.

“We ask that you please support US Fisheries and allow continued access to the US EEZs around the Pacific Remote Islands,” she concluded.

The group’s letter publicly was released and posted over the weekend on the federal portal ( under docket # NOAA-NOS-2023-0052) along with some 100-plus public comments on the proposal. A majority of the comments — from groups and individuals living outside of the territory — support the proposal.

Deadline for comment submission was by June 02 and Gov. Lemanu P.S Mauga had requested to extend it to August 16 or beyond. (See separate story published elsewhere in today’s edition.)