Faleomavaega Responds to President Obama’s Announcement on Pacific Ocean Policy
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Faleomavaega, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, today released the following remarks regarding President Obama’s announcement on new executive actions to preserve and protect our oceans and marine ecosystems in the Pacific.
“I appreciate that the President will focus on combating threats of overfishing and carbon pollution in the Pacific and their long-term negative effects on the health of our marine ecosystems and the livelihood of our people,” Ranking Member Faleomavaega said. “Throughout the United States, but especially in American Samoa, the ocean is our source of food, jobs, and recreation, and plays a vital role in our economy.”
“However, while I fully support President Obama’s commitment to protecting our oceans, I am very concerned that the stakeholders, including Territorial Delegates, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and U.S. tuna fishermen and processors, were not consulted in advance about the possible impact some of these initiatives may have on Pacific Island economies, including American Samoa, which is a single-industry economy almost entirely dependent on the U.S. tuna fishing and processing industry.”
“In response to the concerns my office raised with the White House, the Administration responded promptly and I thank White House aides for informing my office that the President will seek input and comments from stakeholders, including fishermen, scientists, conservation experts, elected officials, and others in the region, to share their views before moving forward with these initiatives.”
“My office has informed StarKist and Tri-Marine executives of these developments and, as the details on the geographic scope of marine protections are yet to be finalized, we will work closely together to provide the Administration with a thorough report on American Samoa’s unique needs. I have every confidence that the Administration will consider the best interests of all the Pacific U.S. Territories in this effort, and I will keep the people of American Samoa updated as the matter progresses,” Faleomavaega concluded.