Longline permits and alia fishing questions raised at Sanctuary meeting
Local businessman Omar Shalhout raised the issue regarding longline permits and alia fishing during a public meeting hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) and the Department of Commerce this past Monday, to discuss issues involving the expansion of the NMSAS.
During the question and answer segment, Shalhout said the number of alia fishing operations has declined greatly, as bigger ships like purse seiners are taking over the industry. He said hardly any alia vessels are out fishing anymore, and this is a cause for concern.
He also referred to the issue of permits for longliners being forwarded to Hawaii for approval. He said the process makes it hard for longliners to acquire permits and he doesn’t understand why the permits have to be sent off-island for approval, when the Department of Commerce has enough money and manpower knowledgeable in the area to handle the situation locally.