American Samoa relies on tuna, not just for food but for work as well. Two large tuna canneries are the biggest private employers on the island; Starkist and Samoa Tuna. Pago Harbor serves as home for both canneries and allows safe port for the tuna boats.
The canned tuna is sold locally as EatWell Tuna and it's better than the stuff you can buy on the mainland, less mushy and more flavor.
When the boats come in, Tuna not only goes to the factories but the stores as well. The fishing trips can last over a month so it isn't a constant, but we can get fresh sushi grade tuna for cheap prices.
The restaurants also get stocked with fresh tuna when the ships arrival. Sometimes the signs ships are in aren't very subtle...
This was the scene at one of the local restaurants when I stopped in for lunch. Unless you're on a boat, you can't get fresher sushi that this! The owners gave me some free sashimi, which I assume was compensation for the butcher operation going on in the middle of the dinning room. Good timing on my part!
The tuna fishery here is always getting more complicated as actions are taken to conserve fish populations. As you can imagine the conversation efforts are not viewed favorably locally due to the potential loss of work from less fish. Boats coming to A.S. must abide by the U.S. laws and obey fishing restrictions which should be beneficial and help sustain fish populations, the catch is that boats going to port in other countries are not regulated in the same way and therefore can fish as they please. It's a catch 22 unless everyone gets on board with conservation, but as long as there is money to be made they'll keep fishing until populations collapse... such is the way of the corporate world...
The Jaskowiak Family
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