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Alliance Tuna Plant In Bitung Wants To Exports To 48 Countries

Just before the World Ocean Conference and Coral Triangle Initiative summit was closed on Friday, the Philippine-based tuna company, Alliance Tuna International, officially opened a $ 5 million tuna canning factory in Bitung, North Sulawesi Province.

The plant, which will be managed by the company’s local unit, PT Alliance Food Indonesia, was inaugurated by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Jonathan Dee, Alliance’s president director, said that the plant represented the first investment by the company in North Sulawesi. He said that the province had a bright future in the fishing industry.

“The marine potential of the province is very rich, and I can see Manado becoming a fish-processing center in the future, which is why I’m investing here,” Dee said in an interview with the Jakarta Globe.

The company, Dee said, had selected Bitung because of its natural harbor.

The factory has a capacity of 60 tons of tuna a day, with canned Skipjack and Yellowfin tuna being its principal products.

Dee said that output would be exported to some 48 countries around the world, with the main markets being the United States and countries in Europe.

Ansil Wowor, PT Alliance Food Indonesia’s vice president, said that the Bitung plant began operation about two weeks prior to the opening of the World Ocean Conference.

It’s still undergoing trials,” she said on Friday.

On the $5 million cost of the project, Ansil said that 80 percent had been put up by the Phillipine company and the remaining 20 percent by the company’s Indonesian partner.

In running the operation, Alliance will collaborate with PT Wailan Pratama, which will be responsible for catching the tuna. Wailan, she said, has about 17 fishing vessels of 100 gross tons each.

At the moment, the new factory employs about 400 to 1,000 locals for fishing and canning.

Dee said that he had to spend a significant amount of time on arranging the necessary permits from the local administration for the plant.