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Chinese Tuna Fishing Company To Build Fourth Processing Plant In PNG

The  construction of a US$20 million (K55 million) on-shore tuna processing plant in Morobe province, Papua New Guinea, will be a first for any Chinese company investing in the local fishing industry, reports The National.

It will be the fourth tuna cannery to rise in Lae.

Zhoushan Zhenyang Deep-Sea Fishing Co, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Hailisheng Group Co Ltd with a joint venture partner from Taiwan, will build the plant to process 250mt to 30 0mt of tuna a day.

The new plant will employ some 3.000 local workers.

PNG’s Fisheries Minister Ben Semri, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge and the company’s general manager Li Yong Jie signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) yesterday in Port Moresby.

Sylvester Pokajam, National Fisheries Authority (NFA) managing director, Morobe provincial administrator Kemas Tomala, and the company’s representatives witnessed the event.

“We worked on this project for more than a year. We appreciate that we had the opportunity to come to this country with support from the provincial government (Morobe) and NFA.

“We hope that this project would be of mutual benefit to us, something we can do for this country,” Mr. Li said in Mandarin, which was translated by Thomas Kuo, a company staff.

At the moment, the company does not fish in PNG waters but will do so once fishing licenses have been granted.

Incidentally, several Chinese companies are already operating in PNG waters.

Mr. Semri thanked the company on behalf of the National Government for having confidence to invest in the tuna processing plant, which is the fourth for Lae.

The proposal endorsed by NFA board will go through the various line agencies and departments for compliance with national laws before the National Executive Council endorses the project to begin construction.

The process is expected to be completed this year.

Lae’s third canning plant is being constructed on 20-hectare property at Malahang industrial centre by Frabelle (PNG) Ltd which has partnered with Philippine-based Century Canning Corp and Thailand-based Thai Union Corp, a subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Products PCL (TUF).

This plant will process 350mt of fish a day-the biggest so far for any processing plant in the country.

“Government policy is, as we move into onshore processing, the foreign exchange would have to be reduced concurrently, so that is our responsibility to ensure they (company) are given sufficient licenses,” Mr. Pokajam said.

Mr. Wenge thanked Mr. Semri and NFA for deciding to locate another fish processing plant in Lae, and had pledged total support from his government and the province to see the project succeed.

“We are determined to make sure the investors put up their plants and start processing. It will be our business to find land,” he said.