Foreign boats: As much a part of community as local
Tri Marine was asked recently if they will have enough fishing boats to supply the new fresh fish facility set to open next month in American Samoa, as well as the new cannery scheduled to open this year in the country, given the fact that the local longline fleet tied up their boats in January this year and put them up for sale.
Tri Marine CEO and Chairman Renato Curto responded: “We will always give priority to local boats, but will need to also use longliners that operate outside of the territory” Hamby, managing director of Tri Marine International, added that there are generally two types of fleets “ local and foreign” and they share something in common, which is “that they are based in American Samoa.”
“Foreign boats come here and they provide as much support to the cannery as the local boats. They also buy fuel locally, they use local services, so they are just as much a part of this community as the local boats, except they don’t live here, which is a big difference,” he said.
However, he said, foreign boats tend to be a little different, and they can go further out and they can stay out longer, “but we will need their supply just as much as we’ll want the local fish supply.”
“The local fleet is important to us, but just having the local fleet alone, will not be enough. What we think we bring to the local fleet is a market for higher value fish. That’s important, that hasn’t existed before,” Hamby said, adding that this higher value fish is used for the fresh fish facility.