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Amata pushes for American Samoa fishing access

Congresswoman Amata addresses the panel during Wednesday’s hearing on Marine Ntl Monuments. [courtesy photo]
Source: Media release, office of Congresswoman Aumua Amata

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata at a Natural Resources subcommittee hearing today, strenuously objected to the lack of local input, transparency and scientific scrutiny in the marine monument designation process. 

Her colleagues, on the committee, echoed the Congresswoman’s sentiments, as well as the majority of the expert panelists, who were invited to participate.

“For over a millennium our people have fished these waters. For some bureaucrat in Washington to make the decision to close off these vast swaths of ocean to our people without even consulting the local leadership or industry, so that they may appease their environmental masters, is unacceptable,” said Amata. 

“The environmental colonialists have gone too far in expanding these protected areas, to the severe detriment of American Samoa, and I am glad that my colleagues on the committee have seen the need to address the issue,” continued the Congresswoman.

Most notably, the Remote Pacific Islands Marine Monument, which is part of American Samoa’s traditional fishing grounds, has been expanded and closed completely to U.S. fishing interests, while remaining open to our foreign competitors who fish for these migratory species without the conservation methods and regulations followed by our [American] fishermen.

“I want to thank both Chairman Lamborn and Ranking Member Huffman for allowing me to participate in today’s subcommittee hearing, so that I could explain the importance of access to these waters for our fishing fleet, as well as Mr. Hallman, whose testimony today was very insightful,” concluded Amata.

(Samoa News will report on Hallman’s testimony this week — it was streamed online, yesterday, Mar. 15, 2017.)