Tag Archive: American Samoa

May 01 2017

May First & Third Friday’s


Have nothing to do on a Friday night? Come and check out First and Third Friday’s at the Fagatogo Marketplace. The live entertainment by Harborlight AOG Aoa Youth (05/05) and Nu’uuli Methodist Youth (05/19) starts at 6:30 pm, but you can always come earlier and treat yourself to the best Samoan food on island as recognized and awarded by South Seas Broadcasting in their “2015 Best of American Samoa survey” or browse and buy a handicraft gift for a friend.

You can make it a family event or socialize with friends! Don’t forget to indulge in live music, handicrafts, farm fresh agriculture, and cultural cuisine. And as always, we encourage you to support local businesses first.

WHEN: May 05 & 19

WHAT TIME: 6pm to 9pm

WHERE: Fagatogo Marketplace


Download the flyer here: May FF Flyer.PNG

The First and Third Friday events are sponsored by the Department of Commerce Planning Division in support by the Community Services Block Grant.

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/may-first-third-fridays-2/

Feb 01 2016

PRESS RELEASE: 2015 Consumer Price Index Update

The Department of Commerce Statistics Division has released updated Consumer Price Index (CPI) reports for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters of 2015. Click below to view the press releases containing summary of revisions and data.


For questions, please contact Chief Statistician Meleisea Vai Filiga at (684) 633-5155 ext. 256 or vai.filiga@doc.as.

The official CPI Quarterly Reports can be found on the DOC website under the Research & Statistics tab, under the category of Reports.



For questions, please contact Chief Statistician Meleisea Vai Filiga at (684) 633-5155 ext. 256 or vai.filiga@doc.as.

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/press-release-2015-consumer-price-index-update/

Oct 23 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Frustrations Voiced Over Impacts of US Fishing Quotas in the Western and Central Pacific

Frustrations Voiced Over Impacts of US Fishing Quotas in the Western and Central Pacific

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sylvia Spalding at (684) 731-7289 or info@wpcouncil.org



UTULEI, AMERICAN SAMOA (22 October 2015) Members of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, meeting yesterday in Utulei, American Samoa, questioned the high road the United States has taken in international Pacific tuna management and the unfair consequences to fisheries in Hawaii and American Samoa.
“When international regulations cause a fishery to close, I don’t see how we can convince other nations to abide by our standards,” Council Member Michael Goto said. “Fishermen are talking about quitting.”
The Council noted that, when US fisheries are restricted, domestic demand is satisfied by foreign fleets that fall far short of the rigorous standards applied to the US fleets.
Council members addressed the recent two-month closure of the US longline fishery targeting bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) convention area and the ongoing closure of the US purse seine fishery on the high seas and US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters in the WCPFC convention area. Both closures were the result of the fisheries reaching US quotas developed by the WCPFC and implemented through federal regulation by NOAA. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) convention area in the Eastern Pacific Ocean remains closed to US longline vessels 24 meters and larger harvesting bigeye tuna. The United States has arguably the lowest quotas in both convention areas and is the only nation to have reached its quotas and restricted its fisheries.
The Council questioned the allocations developed by the WCPFC and recommended that the United States at the 12 th regular meeting of the WCPFC invoke Article 10 paragraph 3 of the WCPFC Convention, which was established in 2000 in Honolulu, and work to restore the bigeye catch limit applicable to the Hawaii longline fishery and high seas effort limit for the US purse seine fishery. Current quotas for both US fisheries are below their historic catch levels, and the quota for the US longline fishery for bigeye tuna is scheduled to be further reduced in 2017.
Article 10 paragraph 3 stipulates that, in developing criteria for allocation of the total allowable catch or the total level of fishing effort, the WCPFC shall take into account not only the status of the stocks, the existing level of fishing effort in the fishery, the historic catch in the area and the respective interests, past and present fishing patterns and fishing practices of participants in the fishery but also other criteria. Among these are the extent of the catch being utilized for domestic consumption; the respective contributions of participants to conservation and management of the stocks, including the provision by them of accurate data and their contribution to the conduct of scientific research in the convention area; the special circumstances of a State which is surrounded by the EEZ of other States and has a limited exclusive economic zone of its own; the needs of small island developing States (SIDS), territories and possessions in the Convention Area whose economies, food supplies and livelihoods are overwhelmingly dependent on the exploitation of marine living resources; the needs of coastal communities which are dependent mainly on fishing for the stocks; the fishing interests and aspirations of coastal States, particularly small island developing States, and territories and possessions, in whose areas of national jurisdiction the stocks also occur; and the record of compliance by the participants with conservation and management measures.
Hawaii and the US Territory of American Samoa, a WCPFC Participating Territory, have felt the brunt of the recent closures due to the US quotas developed by the WCPFC. Ninety-seven percent of the Hawaii longline bigeye tuna catch is consumed domestically, according to the United Fishing Agency, Honolulu’s iconic fish auction. The Hawaii longline fishery operates in a region of the Pacific with the lowest impact to the bigeye stock.
The Territory of American Samoa is surrounded on all sides by the EEZ of other nations. In addition, 25 percent of the US EEZ surrounding American Samoa is currently closed to US purse seine and longline vessels due to the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, created by Presidental executive order, and the Large Vessel Prohibited Area for pelagic fishing vessels over 50 feet in length established by the Council.
A detailed analysis of the dependence of American Samoa on US purse seine vessels delivering to Pago Pago canneries is forthcoming from NMFS. The US government recently denied a petition by Tri Marine Management Company requesting that it open the high seas and US EEZ to US purse seiners delivering at least half of their catch to tuna processing facilities in American Samoa. NMFS said it needed the economic analysis of the impact of the closure and issued an advance notice of proposed rulem aking with the petition denial.
Congresswoman  Aumua Amata of

US Congresswoman Aumua Amata of American Samoa expressed her disappointment in the “US government making decisions that are detrimental to American Samoa …. We don’t have IBM, Coca Cola or Silicon Valley for job creation. We just have the fisheries.”

 American Samoa expressed her disappointment in the decision by NMFS. Addressing the Council yesterday, she said that American Samoa is in dire straits. “It g oes back to US government making decisions that are detrimental to American Samoa. We’ve had enough of it. It has got to stop. We don’t have IBM, Coca Cola or Silicon Valley for job creation. We just have the fisheries.”
Va’amua Henry Sesepasara, coordinator of the American Samoa Fishery Task Force, said that the petition Tri Marine filed with NMFS was made as a member of the Task Force. The Task Force was set up earlier this year by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to protect and sustain the competitive advantage of the Territory’s two canneries. The Task Force includes representation of both StarKist Samoa and Samoa Tuna Processors, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tri Marine.
Lt. Gov. Lemanu P. Mauga in his remarks to the Council yesterday said “StarKist and Tri Marine are our government’s life support in terms of our economy and jobs and our people’s social growth. A good number of American Samoa’s population works at StarKist and Tri Marine.” He asked the Council to imagine what would happen if these two canneries ceased operating because of the federal mandate to raise the minimum wage, the decision to restrict US-based purse-seine vessels on the high seas and exclusive economic zone or American Samoa not being afforded the same opportunity as other SIDS.
The Council recommended that the US government ensure that the US Participating Territories to WCPFC are linked with SIDS in terms of WCPFC conservation and management measures and are afforded the same recognition and opportunities as other SIDS in the region.
Christinna Lutu-Sanchez of the Tautai Longline Association voiced support for all of American Samoa fisheries. “It is about access to fishing grounds. Yes, we are great citizens of the world. But we don’t want to sacrifice our US fleet for the whole entire world.” She noted that tuna is a global commodity and American Samoa fisheries impact a small portion of it.

Lt. Gov. Lemanu P. Mauga in his remarks to the Council yesterday said “StarKist and Tri Marine are our government’s life support in terms of our economy and jobs and our people’s social growth.”

As attested to by the recent area closures of the Hawaii longline fishery for bigeye tuna and the US purse seine fishery on the high seas and in the US EEZ, US monitoring and compliance with WCPFC conservation and management  measures is unsparing if not exemplary.  The US longline vessels in Hawaii targeting tuna are required to have 20 percent observer coverage and those targeting swordfish are required to have 100 percent observer coverage. On the other hand, the WCPFC requires a minimum of 5 percent observer coverage, and there is no mechanism in the WCPFC to sanction non-compliance. Council members voiced their frustration with the lack of compliance and monitoring in the fisheries of other nations.
After much deliberation, the Council took action on 20 items related to pelagic and international fisheries, the majority related to the WCPFC.
Other highlights yesterday included Council recommendations regarding redevelopment of the small-scale alia fishery in American Samoa, which was destroyed by a tsunami in 2009; the presentation of a $50,000 check from the Council to the American Samoa Port Administration as the first installment to develop a longline dock at Malaloa; the swearing in of  Michael Duenas and Michael Goto as reappointed Council members fulfilling the obligatory seats of Guam and Hawaii, respectively; and recognition of Lauvao Stephen Haleck as this year’s Richard Shiroma Award recipient for his outstanding contributions to the Council. High Talking Chief Lauvao (from Aunu’u) was a former Council member and an active member of the Council’s Advisory Panel when he passed away last month. His wife, Melesete Grohse-Haleck, accepted the award on his behalf.
The Council meeting continues today at the Lee Auditorium in Utulei and is being streamed live at https://wprfmc.webex.com/join/info.wpcouncilnoaa.gov. For more on the meeting, go to www.wpcouncil.org, email info@wpcouncil.org or phone (808) 522-8220. The Council was established by Congress under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 to manage domestic fisheries operating seaward of State waters around Hawai`i, American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI and the US Pacific Island Remote Island Areas. Recommendations by the Council are transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for final approval.
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council: Appointees by the Secretary of Commerce from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawai`i governors: Michael Duenas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (vice chair); Edwin Ebisui (Hawai`i) (chair); Michael Goto, United Fishing Agency Ltd. (Hawai`i); John Gourley, Micronesian Environmental Services (CNMI) (vice chair); Julie Leialoha, biologist (Hawai`i); Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele, Port Administration (American Samoa); McGrew Rice, commercial and charter fisherman (Hawai`i) (vice chair); and William Sword, recreational fisherman (American Samoa) (vice chair). Designated state officials: Suzanne Case, Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources; Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources; Richard Seman, CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources; and Matt Sablan, Guam Department of Agriculture. Designated federal officials: Matthew Brown, USFWS Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments Office; William Gibbons-Fly, US Department of State; RADM Vincent B. Atkins, US Coast Guard 14th District; and Michael Tosatto, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office.

American Samoa is surrounded by the EEZ of other countries and has a limited commercial fishing area within the EEZ surrounding it. The WCPFC Convention provides special consideration for these circumstances when developing criteria for allocation of the total allowable catch or the total level of fishing effort.

Original press release can be found here: Frustrations Voiced Over Impacts of US Fishing Quotas in the Western and Central Pacific

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/press-release-frustrations-voiced-over-impacts-of-us-fishing-quotas-in-the-western-and-central-pacific/

Jun 23 2015

Micro-finance business seeks to serve American Samoa

Micro-financing business seeks to serve American Samoa


South Pacific Business Development Foundation 

South Pacific Business Development President Gregory Casagrande and General Manager Ajay Verma with Mike Fuiava met with DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele to inquire about business opportunities for their micro-financing business in American Samoa.  DOC Director Lafaele provided them with a business licensing packet and other investment opportunities, then directed them to the AG office for legal structure advice and they have a meeting with the Governor’s Office before their flight back to Apia later this afternoon.


The South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Foundation provides micro-finance opportunities in rural and peri-urban areas, encouraging small business owners to grow and flourish.  It is SPBD’s mission and vision to improve the quality of life for families living in poverty by creating a network of micro-enterprise development organizations and providing the guidance needed to build assets and maintain business.  The SPBD network extends across the South Pacific, with assistance programs in Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, and the Solomon Islands.  They are dedicated to eradicating poverty in the South Pacific, starting with the smallest but most important unit of Pacific culture: family.

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/sbdp-micro-finance-business-seeks-to-serve-american-samoa/

Jun 30 2014

National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDI) Stakeholders Meeting

 National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDI) Stakeholders Meeting

Held on June 25, 2014 at the Lee Auditorium Conference Room

The National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDI) were originally developed in 2011-12 by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to assist countries with their many regional and international monitoring and reporting requirements, such as the Pacific Plan, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) framework as well as multiple international treaties and conventions such as CEDAW, CRC – to name a few.  This NMDI database is increasingly being used for national planning, policy development and monitoring purposes. Representatives from the three French Pacific territories requested this database to be extended to all SPC members, a sentiment echoed also by their US colleagues. They saw this as a most useful planning and management resource, being able to look at their own development initiatives and progress relative to neighboring countries, or countries of similar size, or gauging where they sit in the region.

SPC's Juan Borja presents to key stakeholders on NMDI

This general meeting for American Samoa’s NMDI Stakeholders took place on Wednesday June 25th 2014. This meeting brought together data providers for the 200-some indicators outlined for the establishment of the NMDI-database, the first for the Territory. Consultant Mr. Juan Borja who Statistics for Development, SPC invited to assist in this endeavor and recently completed the NMDI exercises in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands(CNMI) and Guam briefed the stakeholders who attended the NMDI project meeting.  Development Indicators include Education, Telecommunications, Energy, Public Infrastructure and Public Health all of which were presented to key contacts from respective departments and agencies. This national project begins with a data mining exercise from all the involved departments and agencies.  Under the guidance of Mr. Borja, the Research and Statistical Division (RASD) of the Department of Commerce is working collaboratively with each department to ensure the completion of data components required.



Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/national-minimum-development-indicators-stakeholders-meeting/

May 08 2014

2012 Economic Census Press Release



May 7, 2014

The Economic Census provides a comprehensive source of information about the economy of the U.S. and its territories every five years.  The first economic census for American Samoa was held in 2002.  The most recent economic census was done in 2012 and the results are now presented to the public by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Mr. Lee Wentela, Chief of Economic Census Branch, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington D.C. is in the Territory to officially present the findings.  This event takes place at the Rex E. Lee Auditorium conference room on May 7, 2014 at 9:30 am.

The 2012 Economic Census covers 377 business establishments in American Samoa with paid employees.  These businesses had $1.2 billion in sales in 2012, employed 7,070 people and paid $114 million in annual payroll.

Some other findings from the 2012 Economic Census:

  • Over half of businesses are owned by U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals. These businesses account for almost half of private sector employment.
  • 55 businesses had 20 or more employees.  These businesses accounted for 83.2 percent ($960 million) of total sales and 75.7 percent (5,350) of total employment.
  • Capital expenditures totaled $73.4 million.  Businesses invested $32.9 million in buildings and other structures and $40.6 million in machinery and equipment.  This is the first time that capital expenditures statistics have been collected for American Samoa.  The new data will help provide more complete inputs to the calculation of the gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Businesses received 42.7 percent of their revenue from household consumers and individuals, while 12.0 percent of their revenues came from sales to governmental bodies.

Mr. Wentela thanked the local business community and his counterparts at the American Samoa Department of Commerce for their assistance.

“The accuracy of economic reports relies heavily on the availability of information and the cooperation of the business community.  This particular census had a response rate of approximately 90 percent.  I would like to thank all of the American Samoa businesses for their cooperation in providing the requested information.  In addition I would like to note the cooperation and support of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce, the Statistics Division of the Department of Commerce, and the local media.” he said.

The report also includes information by district, county, industry, class of customer, ownership, size of business, payroll and fringe benefits, capital expenditures and business operating expenses.

The statistics for American Samoa are available through the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, an online search tool that allows users to access, filter, manipulate and extract statistics.  More information about the Economic Census of Island Areas is available at http://www.census.gov/econ/islandareas/index.html.

 Download a copy of the Economic Census Press Release here

Economic Census Press Release

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/2012-economic-census-press-release/

Apr 16 2014

Flag Day Festivities kick off early for ASG Departments

Flag Day 2014 includes interagency paddling races, live music and cultural performances, and the annual Fautasi Race to lead up to the Flag Day Parade

As American Samoa nears its 2014 Flag Day celebration on April 17th, 2014 governmental agencies have kicked off the Flag Day week festivities with outrigger canoe races at the Utulei Beach Park. The event began with teams from each governmental department going head-to-head in the interagency paddling races.

The Department of Commerce men’s team (pictured below in black ASCMP shirts, and paddling in the white and blue canoe) won 1st place in a couple of the individual heats, and won 2nd place overall for the men’s division. A big fa’amalo and congratulations for a job well done! We’re proud of our DOC team!

More festivities followed later in the afternoon as the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs hosted live music and cultural performances for the public at the Lee Auditorium. Celebrations continue throughout the week with the annual fautasi races to be held on Wednesday, April 16 at 11:00am and the 2014 Flag Day parade will be held at the Veterans Memorial Stadium on April 17th.

DOC men's team wins 2nd place overallDOC Men in interagency outrigger canoe racesLive music and performances held in the Su'igaula ParkDOC Men's team paddling to the start line for the Interagency Outrigger Canoe races

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/flag-day-kicks-off-early/

Feb 22 2014

American Samoa’s Cricket Culture

There is nothing more admirable than different groups of individuals from different backgrounds, families, denominations, and villages coming together to embrace and classically enjoy a cultural event that displays not only the sportsmanship of the both male and female but their determinations to accomplish something for the team. How often does a whole community collaborate and participate together as one to support the same cause? How often do a dozen individuals get to showcase their athletic talents and humble personalities in front of a crowd? You do not necessarily have to be in the X-Factor competition to get more than ten audiences rooting for you or for the whole world to hear about you through media and social networks.

Instead, American Samoa has a unique way of giving the opportunity for people of all ages to show their friends, families and visitors what they are capable of, and their ability to muscularly engage in a traditional sport called Cricket. It has its similarities with the American baseball tournament but both are contrasted by the structure of the game and its bylaws. However, like the Baseball Games in America, cricket games in American Samoa are perceived as one of the highlighted times of the year. The tournament occurs annually as a competition between different teams from each village. To explain cricket in words is very difficult, but to watch it in person will not only allow understanding but the spectators will feel a sense of culture and belonging, even if one is a tourist.

Cricket games happen annually but the season normally runs from January to April, in relevance to the local Flag Day. This year’s Cricket planning started from January 25, 2014 until a week prior to Flag Day, the Championship game. And like every Championship game of each sport, fans will go all out in supporting their teams and their villages. With that being said, yesterday, February 20, 2014, I was able to witness a tightening crowd game between the Tama o le Sinapati from the village of Tafuna and the Tama o le Mua’au from the village of Faleniu. Yesterday’s game was one that had everyone sitting on the edge of their seats. These two cricket teams are two of the best teams and have been rivals since the starting of the Cricket League. Tama o le Mua’au Cricket team won Championship last year and had several victories prior to last year. However, that legacy is about to change with their loss to the Tama o le Sinapati yesterday. What was even more interesting yesterday was the tension between the players, and although I was just watching the players, I felt what they felt. Being so steady and mind focused on which direction the ball will come through and how to strategize hitting it. The adrenaline rush of the desire to score extreme points for the team and village transmitted on to the spectators influencing the incline of roaring support from people all over the island.

The sight of cooperation and collaboration I witnessed yesterday led me to realize how important cricket games have become to the lives of my people, and it matters that we practice it and enjoy what it has to offer, especially the unity of my people. If the beauty of the island is what you call paradise, then try looking deeper into what creates that beauty, the people. And you can only see it when they are all together for a cricket game.

-Tammie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://doc.as.gov/american-samoas-cricket-culture/