Lolo appeals to Army Corps of Engineers to fast-track extra dock space for StarKist
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga is seeking assistance from LTC Thomas Asbery, U.S. Army District Engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers to identify a suitable site within the harbor for the construction of additional docking space for StarKist Samoa.
In his letter to LTC Asbery last week, Lolo pointed out the new year has brought on new challenges as the American Samoa Government struggles to improve its local economic infra structure system to harvest all the “inherent economic potentials” of our natural assets such as ports and harbors; and he has “pressing issues” on his plate that require Asbery’s assistance.
“I have already brought to your attention the situation involving the financial plight being faced by our local fishing fleet compelling 18 fishing vessels to be put up for sale, and one of the cited operating disincentives is the lack of docking space.”
The governor asked LTC Asbery to identify a suitable site for the additional docking space. Lolo noted that with the debate waging in Washington DC among the canneries, StarKist Samoa has indicated its need for more land to accommodate its proposed expansion plans along with the need to extend its current dock to accommodate more fishing vessels and improve efficiency of its canning process operation.
“My assistance has been requested by StarKist to expedite the process connected with the Army Corps of Engineers permitting system to fast track the implementation of its expansion plans.”
In a letter sent to LTC Asbery last year on the matter, Lolo said a one acre land parcel is immediately available to StarKist for its expansion needs, and it is located on the west side of the old StarKist cold storage, as confirmed by ASPA CEO Utu Abe Malae.
Samoa News understands the acre of land is where the old ASPA office building was located in Satala before it was destroyed by the tsunami in September 2009. The new ASPA plant is to be located where the old StarKist Samoa cold storage used to be.
In his letter to LTC Asbery, last week, Lolo noted China’s aggressive encroachment into the fishing industry in the Pacific, through subsidization of all of its fishing vessels, and that it poses a real threat to our local canneries.
“I know that you are fully aware of the importance of this project to the territory given the significant contribution of StarKist to our local economy.”
Lolo stated that improving the canneries competitive advantage is the best way to counter this foreign threat.