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Pacific News Briefs

Congresswoman Amata and President Trump immediately following the State of the Union speech just after she greeted him in the chamber of the House of Representatives.  [Courtesy photo]


Washington, D.C. –  Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed the priorities President Trump outlined in his first State of the Union speech, particularly highlighting infrastructure development and bipartisan cooperation on shared preferences where a consensus can be reached, such as veterans and military funding.

“I welcome the President’s objectives for infrastructure development and investment, and I also appreciate his support for VA improvements throughout the first year of his administration,” said Amata. “I agree with the desire to see progress toward bipartisan cooperation on those priorities that many in Congress share, and I appreciate that President Trump made that a theme of his speech.”

Historically, the State of the Union is based on a Constitutional directive that the President will periodically report to the Congress about the condition of the country and provide presidential recommendations. The first two Presidents, George Washington and John Adams, gave speeches. For decades, following Presidents then submitted a written Annual Message, then in 1913, Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of speaking in person to the Congress — the tradition of the century since. 

“Right now, there’s a lot of positive news in the U.S. economy and markets, and I hope to see that momentum and growth lead to good things for the territories,” continued the Congresswoman. “I appreciate the President’s commitment to keeping the country safe, strong and prosperous, and I look forward to seeing progress on these initiatives in the year ahead.”

(Editor’s note: Congresswoman Aumua and her husband Fred were on the train that crashed into a trash truck yesterday. Samoa News has heard from her that neither she nor her husband were injured.)


APIA, SAMOA WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2018 — The signing of a contract between the American Submarine Company – TE Subcom with the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC), promises a $6 million tala injection into the economy per year and job opportunities for Samoa.

The contract means building a 4000sq meter warehouse at the Matautu wharf to house the undersea communication systems that will service the Pacific and the Oceania. It also will see a Submarine Maintenance Vessel home based in Samoa. The boat will maintain and service communication cables in the Pacific and will provide job opportunities for Samoa.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupa’i today saying that it required a lot of work from his ministry and stakeholders in attracting TE Subcom Company to Samoa.

“It wasn’t easy, as there were other companies from the Pacific who attempted to win the contract,” he said. “However, our main focus which aligns with our government vision is to improve connectivity to the outside world, generate job opportunities and financial benefits for the development of Samoa.”

The submarine warehouse according to the minister will be selling all spare parts for undersea communication cables, and if it is required from any Pacific country, it will be transferred to the submarine maintenance vessel to carry out the service.

“Of course, we benefit from the fees. It is a one of its kind in the Pacific and because of our central location in the Pacific Ocean; it is accessible to our Pacific neighbors.”

Currently, the maintenance vessel is in New Caledonia enroute to Samoa, with about 60 people — mainly Filipinos working on board.

“The Government aims at 50% of the crew to be our own people in the next 2-3 years,” he said.

Afamasaga added that they are now looking at working together with the National University of Samoa Maritime School, in training and teaching the students with specific skills of servicing and maintaining undersea communication cables.

“Thus, providing employment opportunities and [we] will use their skills for overseas jobs,” he said.

The submarine warehouse and vessel are all in line with the arrival of Tui Samoa Cable next week and the Manatua cable expected to land in June this year.

Tui Samoa cable will be launch on Friday 9 February, marking the government’s promise of delivering the cable to provide high speed telecommunications with the outside world and locally.

The minister pointed out that the service will not be at full capacity at its start. “I must say that once it’s launched, it is not going to be supersonic in its service, it will be gradual.”

Both the Tui Samoa and Manatua cables according to Afamasaga, will act as backup for each other.

[Source: Talamua online]


 Noumea, New Caledonia – Staff from the Oceanic Fisheries Program completed a significant tuna-tagging voyage in late 2017, releasing nearly 28,000 tagged tuna in the waters of PNG and Solomon Islands.

Pacific tuna fisheries produce over 60% of the world’s tuna, and are an important part of the gross domestic product of most countries in the region. But threats such as overfishing and climate change put this vital natural resource at risk.

The collection of data through tagging will provide valuable information to assess fish abundance, movement and the impact of fishing. This information will help the WCPFC determine sustainable management practices and conservation measures of tuna in the region.

Tagging allows fisheries scientists to monitor mortality, movement and growth of tagged fish. On this voyage, the fish were caught using the pole-and-line fishing method. This allows the fish to be caught, measured, tagged and released in just a few seconds. Information on each tagged individual including species, length, fish condition and tagging quality is recorded using voice recorders. Some of the fish were over 60cm in length, and their powerful tails could bruise and scratch the fishers as they are caught for tagging.

The data collected from the tags over next months and years will help increase our understanding of tuna fisheries, and the impact of fishing activities on tuna fisheries throughout the Pacific. This data will help inform future sustainable management decisions that will help protect tuna stocks and the people who rely on them.

“The key highlight was obviously the number of tagss the team released, with additional highlights being the development of new tagging technicians, the amount of biological sampling conducted, without forgetting that these good results would not have been possible without the support and efforts of  the vessel crew”, according to Neville Smith, SPC’s Principal Fisheries Scientist.

Fishers can receive a reward for the return of tags to SPC.

Anyone who finds a tag, or would like more information, should contact the Oceanic Fisheries Programme via email: or visit to assist SPC with this important ongoing research.