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The foamy looking water in this photo is brine mixed with fish blood and oil that is draining from a fishing boat while it’s unloading its catch into a freezer — in this case the freezer facility is located at the StarKist Samoa cannery.

The brine (a mix of sea water & salt) is used to freeze the fish in transport. However, when the fish is unloaded, the brine has to be ‘dumped’ — right where the unloading is being done — in order for the fish to be easily transferred to the freezer(s).

According to fishing industry sources, the foamy-brine mixture dumped into the Pago Pago Bay waters ends up sticking to the hulls of boats, and can be seen as a ‘slick’ dark film sitting on top of the bay waters, because of the fish oil. While being dumped into the bay waters, as this photo shows, a distinctive ‘fishy’ odor is also apparent during unloading.

The mixture moves at will according to the tides and currents of the bay area.

Protestors to building the StarKist freezer facility on the main dock in Fagatogo have said that StarKist’s insistence that there is no fish smell or waste during unloading is false; and have pointed to the negative affect it will have on cruise ship arrivals and the quality of the Fagatogo and Utulei swimming areas — never mind the freezer facility being located right on the front steps of Fono.