Lawmakers look to earmark funds for local fishermen
Rep. Va’amua Henry Sesepasara has suggested to Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga that the department use some of its $270,000 in local funds to help local fishermen.
Va’amua, who made the request at Thursday’s DMWR budget hearing, says there are several expenses associated with fishing for which the local fleet needs financial assistance, including meeting U.S. Coast Guard regulations.
He says he has raised this issue many times both in the Fono and directly in meetings with the director.
Matagi-Tofiga pointed to a recent case where there was help thru a DMWR federal partner to assist local fishermen. She also says there is federal and regional assistance available that can be requested.
And during the hearing, it was discovered that $40,000 in the travel budget comes from local revenue, but the director says this is not correct. She says that all of DMWR travel is allocated through their federal grants.
Va’amua quickly requested that they use this money to help local fishermen and Sen. Nua Saoluaga made the same request for alia fishing boat owners in Manu’a.
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