Trouble in paradise

Pagopago canneries close

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Invictus News) – American Samoan tuna workers took a huge blow last month when processors suspended operations. Pago Pago-based Starkist – the territory’s largest employer announced it would close operations in October with and Trimarine-owned Samoa Tuna Processors (STP) to suspend canning on December 11. Samoa Tuna Processors processes shelf-stable and frozen tuna products distributed in the United States by The Tuna Store.

Starkist Samoa, the largest employer in American Samoa, is owned by Korean company Dongwon. StarKist’s Michelle Faist said fewer deliveries of fish were being made to American Samoa as a result of the closure of the high seas, US Exclusive Economic Zone and other traditional fishing grounds to the US fishing fleets. But Dongwon, owners of the Starkist plant in Samoa, have a number of boats fishing successfully in the waters near American Samoa.

The boats do not supply their own plant in Pago Pago. Dongwon has bounced back and bounced high this year with its operating profit expected to exceed KRW 100 billion after its second-quarter operating profit surged 206 per cent on year to KRW 45.2 billion (USD 40.4 million). Operating income on sales was up 60 per cent on year and tuna prices climbed to around 30 per cent more than this time last year.

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