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Tuna Loining Plant Re-Opens In Marshall Islands

A tuna processing plant has begun operations in the Marshall Islands after prolonged efforts to get the plant up and running.

For 18 months Pan Pacific Foods in Majuro has been dealing with equipment problems and needed to embark on staff training.

For a country with an unemployment rate pegged above 30 percent, our correspondent Giff Johnson says local employees put to work this week by the tuna loining plant is good news.

“They had a couple of shipments of tuna arrive and they’re getting going with about 150 workers on the production line to produce tuna that will be canned in Asian canneries so it’s very good news for local employment that they are finally moving into the production direction.”

The government chose Pan Pacific Foods, which is a subsidiary of a China-based corporation, to revive the tuna plant when an American firm that ran the plant from 1997 to 2004 went bankrupt.

Andrew Wright, the director of the Ponphei based Central and Western Pacific Fisheries Commission says not all countries have an environment where they can encourage investment.

But he says the Marshalls still has to overcome the lack of a fresh water supply for the plant and it will face other challenges.

“It’s going to require a lot of financial and technical support I’d say in the medium term. Its well located. Good harbor for vessels and there are other developments going on .which should be complementary to the loining plant that’s starting production there now.”

Andrew Wright says it’s a positive development to have island states become more pro-active and want onshore processing done.