FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ----
Congressman Faleomavaega announced that Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached a compromise on a Senate bill which will lift the embargo on tuna caught by encircling dolphins and could lead to a change in the meaning of the "dolphin safe" label.
"This agreement will fund a three-year study to determine if catching tuna using purse seine methods will have a significant impact on already depleted dolphin stocks," said Faleomavaega. "It will also permit tuna caught in the Eastern Tropical Pacific to be sold in the United States, if the tuna is caught in accordance with international agreements."
"This is expected to have an impact on American Samoa in that if tuna caught in the Eastern Pacific can be sold in the United States, it becomes economically more practical to catch, process and can tuna in the Eastern Pacific. Because American Samoa is somewhat distant from the United States, it is more expensive to process tuna in American Samoa than it is in some countries closer to the United States. This change in the law, coupled with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which permits unlimited amounts of canned tuna to enter the United States from Mexico, may cause the canneries in American Samoa to change their operations, either by moving them to the U.S. mainland, or by setting up operations along the U.S.-Mexican border. This would have a significant impact on our economy," said Faleomavaega.
The elements of the compromise are: