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Video: Celebrity fish cleaning — no easy task

fili@samoanews.com

During Saturday’s “official inauguration” of Tri Marine International’s  Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., $70 million state-of-the art cannery plant in Atu’u and part of the ceremony included a “celebrity fish cleaning” segment which took place before the celebration got underway at 12noon.
 
The first group of four celebrities were Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, Curto and Commerce Department director Keniseli Lafaele. All of them wore rubber-knee high boots, hairnets and coverall plastic clothing.
 
Some 50 people all together, including several guests, watched as the first four celebrities were given hands-on instructions by STP workers on how to clean fish, before taking on the actual task.
 
“It was good taking part, and I know for a fact that this is not an easy task for our workers,” Lolo told Samoa News with a smile following the celebrity event. “It’s a tough job and I commend all our people working in this industry.”
 
Speaking during the actual ceremony, Curto explained that “we had a little symbolic event" prior to the start of the program, and he called it the “first fish cleaning ceremony” in which standing side-by-side with STP’s professional fish cleaners, several special guests showed “their solidarity, respect and appreciation for this industry and for the employees and workers of this plant.” (See inside for more photos and story for details of the official inauguration.)
 
In the video below, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga (left) participates in the “celebrity fish cleaning” segment of Saturday’s innguration of Tri Marine International’s  Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., cannery operation in Atu’u. Three cannery employees (looking on) assist the governor in the fish cleaning process. [Video: Fili Sagapolutele]

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Video: Tri-Marine CEO warns of competition from EU

“Celebrity Fish Cleaning” segment adds focus on skilled work force
fili@samoanews.com

While the canned tuna industry is already faced with the low price of fish affecting the cost of canned tuna products — and stiff competition from low wage countries — the local industry is facing a new threat that Tri Marine International chief executive officer Renato Curto says will “create for us a new power competitor” — referring to the European Union (EU).
 
Curto made the comments during Saturday’s “official inauguration” of the company’s Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., $70 million state-of-the art cannery plant in Atu’u and part of the ceremony included a “celebrity fish cleaning” segment which took place before the celebration got underway at 12noon.
 
According to the Tri Marine boss, the inauguration is an exciting day for both Tri Marine and American Samoa, adding that for him personally, the plant has been four years in the making and is the culmination of his lifetime work and personal quest.
 
Getting the operations up and running was never easy, with “many challenges along the way," he acknowledged.
 
"It took a lot of study, hard work and determination”, he said, and noted that “some people even questioned our intention from the beginning”.
 
He expressed special thanks to Gov. Lolo M. Moliga and the current administration for their strong support of this dream.
 
The company is currently faced with shipping delays due to the congestion at the U.S. west coast’s main ports in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle. Because of the delay in shipment of containers, the cannery plant is not yet ready to function, but the company is anxious to get everything in place, according to Curto, adding that they are looking at next month to start plant operations.
 
(Samoa News should note that it was also due to the delay of the shipments from the West Coast that prompted Tri Marine to postpone the inauguration, which was originally set for early this month.)
 
Curto went on to say that one of Tri-Marine's strengths is that its cannery is located in the South Pacific, which is the world's largest fishing ground. “The fishing boats that are owned or contracted to Tri Marine can land their catch directly here,” he said.
 
Regarding export markets, Curto said that while its tuna product’s main export with duty free excess is the U.S., there are other markets, like the European Union, which is currently undergoing free trade agreement negotiations with the U.S.
 
He is hopeful that during these negotiations, American Samoa will be included as a qualified producer U.S. territory, so that canned tuna products produced in the territory can get free access to European markets.
 
However, if the territory is excluded, it “will create for us a new power competitor which will be added to the list of strong competitors that we already have” — such as countries like Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, China and Thailand — with their “lower costs for labor, packaging materials and energy.”
 
With the support of ASG, the company is hopeful that American Samoa is included in U.S. and EU treaty negotiations or any other U.S. free trade agreements with other countries, he said.
 
Curto also spoke of another challenge: the price of fish.
 
He said this was taken into account when planning the American Samoa plant, adding that the price of tuna is currently low — less than half of what is was two years ago — however the price of tuna is something that they cannot control.
 
Curto noted the reason for the low price, is that there are simply too many fishing boats out there.
 
“When tuna prices are low, as you can understand, all the components, the cost of the tuna can, becomes more significant. Labor for one, and electricity, water, packaging material,” he explained.
 
According to the Tri Marine boss, the company, which has a fleet of ten U.S. flagged purse seiners based in the territory, needs more access to the fishing grounds in the region for vessels that are based here, and that access also helps StarKist Samoa.
 
“We hope that American Samoa’s island neighbors will provide more access as it supports jobs and businesses in American Samoa and in other island communities,” he said, noting that resource owners hold the keys to other benefits such as job creation.
 
This is why Tri Marine has been working with nations such as Kiribati, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Cook Islands, he said, “to develop mutually beneficial joint ventures connected to American Samoa and our tuna processing industry here.”
 
Regarding job creation, Curto told the audience that he fully understands the significance of new jobs the cannery will be providing. He recalled that he has heard from local leaders, especially Lolo and former Gov. Togiola, expressing the importance of creating more jobs for residents.
 
He said that American Samoa is blessed with the infrastructure and resources that enable the company to provide jobs in the territory. (The company has said it is looking at some 1,500 new jobs when the plant is fully operational.)
 
“We are especially proud to provide jobs to a workforce that is good or better as any other and as committed as we are to make this venture a success,” Curto said and thanked the many people in the government, private sector and those off island who contributed to helping the company with its local operations.
 
Curto was generous in his recognition and thanks to former Governor Togiola Tulafono — who attended the event with his wife Maryann — for “his vision, his support and his determination to create a new future” for both American samoa and Tri Marine.
 
Curto said he is also “very grateful” to former Congressman Faleomavaega Eni for his long-time “unwavering support” and he is hopeful that new Congresswoman Aumua Amata will offer the same support. (Aumua was represented by Pulu Ae Ae Jr., her chief of staff for the District Office in the territory).
 
Several off island guests were also in attendance, including New Zealand Ambassador for Pacific Island Development Shane Jones; Kitty Simonds, the executive director of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council; top officials of Dongwon Industries — owner of StarKist Co., and StarKist Samoa along with StarKist officials; and the managing director of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) office.
 
In closing, Curto said the “risks and challenges facing us remain ultimately with the consumer [who] will decide the future of this plant and the level of production we will be able to have.”
 
He added that Tri Marine can help consumers by producing “good quality products from sustainably caught fish in the most cost-efficient way while proclaiming proudly, this is a product of American Samoa."
 
"With your help we will succeed.”
 
He closed by thanking the people of American Samoa “for always being so nice and kind to us and making us feel like we are at home.”
 
In his special remarks during the opening, Governor Lolo expressed his appreciation to officials of the Pacific region who attended the ceremony, saying that “there is no doubt in my mind that your help is very much needed with respect to allowing fishing vessels supplying fish to our canneries to fish within your exclusive economic zones.”
 
“I look forward to collaborating with you on regional issues and programs that will foster the generation of mutually economic benefits and economic opportunity for our respective people,” he said. 
 
See previous report posted Sunday for other speeches and look for more photos in slideshow posted soon.
 
In the video below, Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., choir - made up of company employees - sang hymns during Saturday’s inaguration ceremony of the cannery plant in Atu’u. [video: Fili Sapolutele]

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VIDEO: UNDER-17 SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT OPENS IN THE TERRITORY

jeff@samoanews.com

American Samoa had their first games for this year’s OFC Under-17 Soccer Championship tournament yesterday afternoon at the Pago Pago Soccer Stadium. American Samoa (Group 2) is hosting the Oceania qualifiers along with Samoa, Group 1. Winner of the tournament will play in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
 
Yesterday the first game of Group 2 had American Samoa facing off with Vanuatu.
 
Playing well during the first half of their game yesterday, the American Samoa team trailed only 3-0 going into the second half. Not too long into the second half, Vanuatu seemed to score “at will” with Sylvain Worworbu leading the way.
 
Worworbu not only scored their first goal 11 minutes into the game, he scored three more times in the second half (61, 70 and 83 minute mark). Vanuatu had a host of players scoring that ended in a 13- 0 defeat for American Samoa.
 
Samoa News was not able to retrieve the score of the second game — between Solomon Islands and Tonga — as of press-time. The next games in Group 2 are tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15.
 
Vanuatu, with a decisive win under its belt will face Tonga (1:00 p.m.) and American Samoa goes up against Tahiti at 3:30 p.m. at Pago Pago Soccer Stadium.
 
In Group 1 — in Samoa — on the first day of play (Samoa is 25 hours ahead of American Samoa time), Papua New Guinea downed Cook Islands by a score of 3-0. Papua New Guinea players Brendon Kambula put in the first goal at the 13 minute mark, while teammates Martin Tokwakwasi (75 minute mark) and Freddy Tupani (90 minute mark) each scored one to put the game out of reach against the Cook Islanders.
 
Oceania Under-17 defending champion Team New Zealand overpowered Fiji, as they beat the Fijians 6-0. New Zealand’s James McGarry (12 and 33 minute marks) and Logan Rogerson (17 and 55 minute marks) each had two goals as teammates Benjamin Mata (69 minute mark) and Connor Probert (90 minute) each added one.
 
Samoa News will continue to bring the latest updates of the 2015 OFC Under-17 Soccer Championship tournament being played here in American Samoa and Samoa from January 13- 27.
 
The FFAS continues to invite the public and all of the different communities in the territory to come out and support their teams, with all games being played at the Pago Pago Soccer Stadium.
 
More photos in slideshow.
 
Group 1: (Samoa)
 
Team            GP            W            T            L            G            Pts
 
New Zealand            1            1            0            0            6:0            3
 
Papua New Guinea            1            1            0            0            3:0            3
 
New Caledonia            1            1            0            0            2:0            3
 
Samoa            1            0            0            1            0:2            0
 
Cook Islands            1            0            0            1            0:3            0
 
Fiji            1            0            0            1            0:6            0
 
Group 2: (American Samoa)
 
Team            GP            W            T            L            G            Pts
 
Vanuatu            1            1            0            0            13:0            3
 
Solomon Islands            0            0            0            0            0            0
 
Tonga            0            0            0            0            0            0           
 
Tahiti            0            0            0            0            0            0
 
Am. Samoa            1            0            0            1            0:13            0
 
 

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VIDEO: UNDER-17 SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT OPENS IN THE TERRITORY

jeff@samoanews.com

American Samoa had their first games for this year’s OFC Under-17 Soccer Championship tournament yesterday afternoon at the Pago Pago Soccer Stadium. American Samoa (Group 2) is hosting the Oceania qualifiers along with Samoa, Group 1. Winner of the tournament will play in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
 
Yesterday the first game of Group 2 had American Samoa facing off with Vanuatu.
 
Playing well during the first half of their game yesterday, the American Samoa team trailed only 3-0 going into the second half. Not too long into the second half, Vanuatu seemed to score “at will” with Sylvain Worworbu leading the way.
 
Worworbu not only scored their first goal 11 minutes into the game, he scored three more times in the second half (61, 70 and 83 minute mark). Vanuatu had a host of players scoring that ended in a 13- 0 defeat for American Samoa.
 
Samoa News was not able to retrieve the score of the second game — between Solomon Islands and Tonga — as of press-time. The next games in Group 2 are tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15.
 
Vanuatu, with a decisive win under its belt will face Tonga (1:00 p.m.) and American Samoa goes up against Tahiti at 3:30 p.m. at Pago Pago Soccer Stadium.
 
In Group 1 — in Samoa — on the first day of play (Samoa is 25 hours ahead of American Samoa time), Papua New Guinea downed Cook Islands by a score of 3-0. Papua New Guinea players Brendon Kambula put in the first goal at the 13 minute mark, while teammates Martin Tokwakwasi (75 minute mark) and Freddy Tupani (90 minute mark) each scored one to put the game out of reach against the Cook Islanders.
 
Oceania Under-17 defending champion Team New Zealand overpowered Fiji, as they beat the Fijians 6-0. New Zealand’s James McGarry (12 and 33 minute marks) and Logan Rogerson (17 and 55 minute marks) each had two goals as teammates Benjamin Mata (69 minute mark) and Connor Probert (90 minute) each added one.
 
Samoa News will continue to bring the latest updates of the 2015 OFC Under-17 Soccer Championship tournament being played here in American Samoa and Samoa from January 13- 27.
 
The FFAS continues to invite the public and all of the different communities in the territory to come out and support their teams, with all games being played at the Pago Pago Soccer Stadium.
 
More photos in slideshow.
 
Group 1: (Samoa)
 
Team            GP            W            T            L            G            Pts
 
New Zealand            1            1            0            0            6:0            3
 
Papua New Guinea            1            1            0            0            3:0            3
 
New Caledonia            1            1            0            0            2:0            3
 
Samoa            1            0            0            1            0:2            0
 
Cook Islands            1            0            0            1            0:3            0
 
Fiji            1            0            0            1            0:6            0
 
Group 2: (American Samoa)
 
Team            GP            W            T            L            G            Pts
 
Vanuatu            1            1            0            0            13:0            3
 
Solomon Islands            0            0            0            0            0            0
 
Tonga            0            0            0            0            0            0           
 
Tahiti            0            0            0            0            0            0
 
Am. Samoa            1            0            0            1            0:13            0
 
 

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VIDEO: UNDER-17 SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT OPENS IN THE TERRITORY

jeff@samoanews.com

American Samoa had their first games for this year’s OFC Under-17 Soccer Championship tournament yesterday afternoon at the Pago Pago Soccer Stadium. American Samoa (Group 2) is hosting the Oceania qualifiers along with Samoa, Group 1. Winner of the tournament will play in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
 
Yesterday the first game of Group 2 had American Samoa facing off with Vanuatu.
 
Playing well during the first half of their game yesterday, the American Samoa team trailed only 3-0 going into the second half. Not too long into the second half, Vanuatu seemed to score “at will” with Sylvain Worworbu leading the way.
 
Worworbu not only scored their first goal 11 minutes into the game, he scored three more times in the second half (61, 70 and 83 minute mark). Vanuatu had a host of players scoring that ended in a 13- 0 defeat for American Samoa.
 
Samoa News was not able to retrieve the score of the second game — between Solomon Islands and Tonga — as of press-time. The next games in Group 2 are tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15.
 
Vanuatu, with a decisive win under its belt will face Tonga (1:00 p.m.) and American Samoa goes up against Tahiti at 3:30 p.m. at Pago Pago Soccer Stadium.
 
In Group 1 — in Samoa — on the first day of play (Samoa is 25 hours ahead of American Samoa time), Papua New Guinea downed Cook Islands by a score of 3-0. Papua New Guinea players Brendon Kambula put in the first goal at the 13 minute mark, while teammates Martin Tokwakwasi (75 minute mark) and Freddy Tupani (90 minute mark) each scored one to put the game out of reach against the Cook Islanders.
 
Oceania Under-17 defending champion Team New Zealand overpowered Fiji, as they beat the Fijians 6-0. New Zealand’s James McGarry (12 and 33 minute marks) and Logan Rogerson (17 and 55 minute marks) each had two goals as teammates Benjamin Mata (69 minute mark) and Connor Probert (90 minute) each added one.
 
Samoa News will continue to bring the latest updates of the 2015 OFC Under-17 Soccer Championship tournament being played here in American Samoa and Samoa from January 13- 27.
 
The FFAS continues to invite the public and all of the different communities in the territory to come out and support their teams, with all games being played at the Pago Pago Soccer Stadium.
 
More photos in slideshow.
 
Group 1: (Samoa)
 
Team            GP            W            T            L            G            Pts
 
New Zealand            1            1            0            0            6:0            3
 
Papua New Guinea            1            1            0            0            3:0            3
 
New Caledonia            1            1            0            0            2:0            3
 
Samoa            1            0            0            1            0:2            0
 
Cook Islands            1            0            0            1            0:3            0
 
Fiji            1            0            0            1            0:6            0
 
Group 2: (American Samoa)
 
Team            GP            W            T            L            G            Pts
 
Vanuatu            1            1            0            0            13:0            3
 
Solomon Islands            0            0            0            0            0            0
 
Tonga            0            0            0            0            0            0           
 
Tahiti            0            0            0            0            0            0
 
Am. Samoa            1            0            0            1            0:13            0
 
 

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Meet the Men's OFC U-17 Teams in American Samoa

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JUNIOR SEAU'S FAMILY: NFL TAKING NO OWNERSHIP FOR SEAU'S DEATH

For two decades, Junior Seau played in the NFL and for most of those 20 years, his then-wife Gina could only helplessly watch as the game gradually took its toll on her husband.

In a segment for Showtime's 60 Minutes Sports that's set to air on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Gina and two of Seau's children opened up to reporter Armen Keteyian about Seau, who was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after committing suicide in May 2012.

"When he would come home from games, he would go straight to the room," Gina tells Keteyian. "[He'd] lower the blinds, the blackout blinds, and just say, 'Quiet, my head is, is burning.'"

After playing for the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots, Seau retired from football following the 2009 season, but the burning didn't stop. Seau's son Tyler said that his dad started changing after he retired.

"I saw a man right before my eyes changing," Tyler said. "He wasn't that happy go-lucky guy anymore."

Seau's daughter Sydney admitted to Keteyian that being with her dad in his post-retirement life wasn't easy.

"It was hard," Sydney said. "Because we were all reaching for someone that wasn't exactly reaching back, even though we know -- we knew that he wanted to."

The Seau family had the option of accepting a $4 million payment that was offered to them under the NFL's proposed concussion settlement, however, the family wants no part of that money.

The Seau's have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in hopes of getting accountability out of the league.

"The NFL is taking no ownership for what they've done," Tyler tells Keteyian. "There's no responsibility on their part. They're basically giving you a number and [being] like, 'All right, there you go. We're done.'"

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AMERICAN SAMOA ALL STARS BEAT HAWAI’I IN SAMOA BOWL XII, 12 - 6

tony@samoanews.com

Samoa Bowl XII concluded this weekend after the annual event kicked off Christmas week with the arrival of guest competitors from Hawaii, California, and Utah. Volleyball competition was held Thursday and Friday, leading up to the main event – the Samoa Bowl Football Game now in its 12th year.
 
Last year, Hawai’i claimed the Samoa Bowl title under the supervision of head coach Jim Higgins – this year, Hawai’i was under the leadership of head coach Amosa Amosa.
 
American Samoa was the challenger this year led by head coach Sua’ese Pooch Ta’ase, who took Am. Samoa to victory in a competitive 12 - 6 victory.
 
Am. Samoa 12 - Hawai’i 6
 
During the first half of the match, Frank Mauigoa of American Samoa wasn’t showing any signs of letting his air attack out as the weather was a threatening factor for a passing game, both for Hawai’i and the local All Stars in a bruising first half that had American Samoa leading 6 - 0 after a power house running attack.
 
Leading into halftime, American Samoa continued to dominate in the running game, gaining numerous yards in an option formation that occupied a full house backfield.
 
Hawai’i on the other hand, had a hard time against Am. Samoa’s defensive unit, as a majority of their offensive possession was played in their territory without any signs of an offensive spark in the passing or running game.
 
With the rain over in the second half, it brought more action to the field as both teams now had the chance to show off their air raids. Hawai’i opened with quick passes to the outside, but were immediately shut down by Am. Samoa’s defensive unit when they confirmed two interceptions in the second half to bury any thoughts of a passing game for quarterback Li’ili’i and the State of Hawai’i.
 
Frank Mauigoa for Am. Samoa continued with warm up his arm of a canon with short passing situations to Lyle Asiata Siu and Tuioti Danielson – Hawai’i’s defensive unit led by Mageo and Lavata’i were frustrated as they couldn’t adjust their zone coverage to the locals run and gun attack the scored them their second touchdown of the game when Mauigoa ran in his second quarterback keeper for both of American Samoa’s touchdown situations.
 
Late in the fourth quarter, and Hawai’i’s quarterback Li’ili’i bombed out a long pass to receiver, a pass that was tipped off by American Samoa’s Mathew Ma’ilo, and bounced onto the hands of Hawai’i wide receiver Faoa Kelly who tucked in the pass and fell into the end zone for Hawai’i’s first and only touchdown of the game.
 
American Samoa were threatened in the final five minutes of the game, when Hawai’i recovered the ball from Am. Samoa’s offense on a fumble and started making their way towards the local red zone. With a minute remaining in the game, Li’ili’i’s fourth and goal situation was an incomplete pass to his slot receiver, confirming the win for American Samoa after quarterback Mauigoa for American Samoa came back in to kneel the ball as time ran out in the game.
 
“Players of the Game”
 
Offensive Player:
 
Samoa News selected Am. Samoa’s quarterback – Frank Mauigoa from Tafuna High School as the Offensive Player of the Game in Samoa Bowl XII.
 
Defensive Player:
 
Samoa News selected Hawai’i Linebacker and Defensive End – Josiah Mageo from Cambell High School.

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The Arts Council's 37th Annual Holiday Music Festival

Supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts
photos: Tony Gasu & Jeff Hayner
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The Arts Council's 37th Annual Holiday Music Festival

Supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts
photos: Tony Gasu & Jeff Hayner
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