The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa

Head of Fisheries: 
Magele Etuati Ropeti, Director of Fisheries
Phone number: 
(685) 20369 ext 401
Email address: 
Address: 

PO Box 1874

Apia

Samoa

Main Desk Telephone: (685) 20005/ 8420369

ACEO (685) 20369 ext 401

Direct Line (685) 23863

Key Pelagic Fisheries

Tuna Longline (Albacore, bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna)

Key Fisheries (other)

Bottom Fish Fishery and Troll Fishery  

Size of EEZ

129,000 square kilometers

Development objectives and opportunities

The overall goal for the development of Samoas domestic tuna fishery during the period 2011-2015 is: 

To maximise economic benefits flowing to Samoa from the sustainable utilisation of its tuna resources, including harvesting and processing.

Thus, the objectives include:

  1. Providing an enabling environment that will promote and encourage private sector development in commercial fishing, processing and support sectors in Samoa;
  2. Maintain and expand the export of tuna and tuna products from Samoa.
  3. Promote the development of new markets for Samoan tuna.
  4. Promote value-adding to tuna catches in Samoa, to maximise local employment, and produce a high value product for both domestic and export markets.
  5. Encourage the private sector to enter into joint ventures with foreign investors to establish viable fishing operation with shore facilities for processing and exporting fresh or processed tuna based in Samoa.
  6. Increase the catches of the Samoan tuna fleet through the negotiation of access arrangements with neighbouring countries and Territories and through the chartering of vessels to fish on the high seas.
  7. Increase the participation of private sector interests in Tuna fishing through the provision of infrastructure needed to foster development, such as anchorage for fishing vessels, constructing support services, such as ice making machines for processing and / or storage facilities, including in rural locations.
  8. Explore the feasibility of super alia vessels, or other suitable alternatives to improve the economics of the fishery and improve safety at sea.
  9. Strengthen the performance of the Competent Authority on fish and fishery products destined for exports.  Ensure that all developments are sustainable and economically viable, with benefits flowing directly to the local people. 

 Strategies

To achieve the specified development objectives, the following strategies may be adopted. 

Provide an Enabling Environment for Development

Government policies play an important role in facilitating development particularly with respect to private sector.  It is important that the current policies continue to provide an enabling environment for tuna fisheries development and that the Fisheries Division work with other relevant government agencies to ensure that approved policies are fully implemented. 

Maintain and Expand the Export of Tuna and Tuna Products from Samoa

There remains considerable uncertainty concerning the status of processing in American Samoa which has been the major market for tuna from Samoa and alternatives need to be considered.  Strategies to be adopted to increase exports include:

  1. The promotion and developments of new markets, including exploring options for the export of tuna to the EU, noting the need to meet the stringent food safety requirements of that market and the need to conform with the EU IUU Regulation.
  2. Once new markets have been identified, a programme should be developed to establish relationships with buyers and produce value added products from the longline catch.
  3. Consideration of niche markets, including the market for sustainable seafood, which may become available if albacore tuna fisheries in the region can obtain eco-labels or successfully develop other market differentiation strategies.
  4. The establishment of a Competent Authority as this is a necessity for those countries that wish to export seafood. A Competent Authority is an independent, government-based body that is responsible for controlling the standard of seafood exported and the interpretation of importing nation requirements.
  5. Investigate the feasibility of establishing a loining plant in Samoa, noting the potential opportunity to take fish that currently supply processing facilities in American Samoa should the remaining facility located there close.  This should include the option of a large scale plant supported by foreign investment and a smaller scale operation supplied only by the domestic fleet.

Increase the catches of the Samoan Fleet

Due to the small size of the Samoan EEZ and the cap on vessel numbers it is not considered possible to significantly increase catches from the Samoan EEZ.  Therefore, Samoa will pursue arrangements to increase catches by Samoan vessels outside of the EEZ including through:

  1. The negotiation of access agreements to the EEZs of neighbouring States and Territories which have low levels of fishing effort in their EEZs.  It is anticipated that the government of Samoa would facilitate these access negotiations, but that the vessels would be licensed under commercial licensing arrangements.
  2. The development of charter arrangements with foreign fishing vessels with these vessels being authorised by Samoa to fish exclusively on the high seas under the framework of the Commission Management Measure on Charters.  The government of Samoa will put in place appropriate arrangements to control the operation of the vessels, including VMS and 100% observer coverage.  The feasibility  of registering foreign fishing vessels as Samoan flag vessels will need to be investigated, taking account of the need for Samoa to fully implement flag State control measures, noting that the option of Samoa operating an open registry of fishing vessels should also be investigated .  Samoa will also develop criteria for the charter arrangements to ensure that benefits from these charters flow to the Samoan economy.  Samoan registered companies will be invited to charter vessels in accordance with the criteria.  Criteria that might be considered include:
    • At least 40% of crew consists of Samoan nationals.
    • Flagged as Samoan vessel; thus all operational and fisheries data shall be submitted to local fisheries authority.

Manage and Improve Infrastructure and Facilities

Salelologa wharf has space that could potentially be utilized as a commercial fisheries base for Savaii, to support the alia fishery.  The base being located at the terminus of the ferry between Savaii and Upolu would provide for development of infrastructure that would that would enable efficient handling and accumulation of fish from various sources for bulk shipping to market.  The Fisheries Division will consult with the Samoan Ports Authority on the possible development of the base.

The base should house:

  1. Ice Plant (2)
  2. VMS base
  3. Gear Store
  4. Bait Store
  5. Fisheries management office
  6. Space for future cold store facilities.

Upgrading of the Alia Fleet

The number of vessels operating in the alia fishery has been highly variable, largely in response to the economics of the fishery.  The use of larger vessels with larger catch volumes might be expected to improve the economics of the fishery.  Trials of a larger super alia conducted by SPC have indicated that these vessels can operate economically and other alternatives should also be investigated.  The feasibility of a programme to upgrade the existing alia fleet financed through a revolving fund in conjunction with the Development Bank or some other financial institution will be explored. 

Safety at Sea

Much progress has been made in addressing safety at sea issues, noting that the installation of VMS units on the small alia vessels has greatly assisted in this area.  The focus of the current plan will be on the conduct of safety at sea training programmes and ensuring existing regulations relating to safety certificates and vessel seaworthiness are enforced.

Training

As new opportunities and markets are achieved, additional training for the Fisheries Division will be required.  This will ensure that there is capacity to discharge some of the new roles that have been highlighted for the Division.

There is also a need to identify and support training for the private sector, noting that training in value adding techniques is one immediate priority.