New company negotiates lease with ASG for Fagatogo fish market
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A new company in American Samoa — Island Fisheries — has been negotiating a lease agreement with the Department of Marine & Wildlife Resources for the use of the Fish Market at the Fagatogo Market Place, according to the American Samoa Community Activities & Issues Report submitted to the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.
The report, prepared by Council staff and covered fishery issues, was submitted ahead of the 174th Meeting of the Council, which is held Oct. 23- 24 at the Northern Mariana Islands and Oct. 26- 27 in Guam.
According to the report, Island Fisheries will utilize the fish market as their staging location for boxing fish before transport to the airport for the weekly Friday cargo flights.
The company plans to purchase fresh pelagic and bottom fish species from alia, longline and recreational boats, and envision the venture as an economic opportunity for all fishermen in American Samoa to sell their catch for a fair price on a regular basis.
Island Fisheries is also planning to assist local fishermen improve the quality of their catch to maximize market prices. And they have made contact with the Hawaii Seafood Council to assist them in planning Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification courses for the fishermen they will buy from.
The report points out that there “are challenges for such a business, including limited flights to the territory, being on the same page as all the fishermen, and setting market prices.” Additionally, many of the small boats do not have holds for adequate cold storage while at sea, and an Island Fisheries representative acknowledged that it will be essential for flake ice to be made available to the fishermen to ensure high quality fish.
“Currently there is no flake ice machine in Pago Pago Harbor, but DMWR is in the process of obtaining the necessary permits to install the flake ice machine they purchased with the Disaster Relief Funds obtained following the 2009 tsunami,” the report notes.