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Frabelle Launches New Tuna Seiner With ULT

Filipino-owned Frabelle Corporation, considered one of the world’s largest fishing companies, is bullish that its production of tuna will more than double with the addition of its latest fishing vessel equipped with ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezing and storage system inaugurated at Manila South Harbor on November 24, 2013.

The new fishing boat, FV Kaile 888, costing $21 million (inclusive of start up capital fuel), is capable of  producing on-board bulk production of high-value sashimi while sailing the high seas on deep-sea fishing trips. It is the first in the Philippines to employ the afore-mentioned technology.

“This will allow us to produce sashimi by 60 to 70 percent more than [using] the traditional technology,” said Frabelle Corporation President Francisco Tiu-Laurel, adding that they are expecting an average return of investment within seven years. “We should be able to catch at least 8,000 tons a year.” Frabelle has been in the industry for 51 years and supplies 15 percent of the entire seafood market in the Philippines and 10 percent of the worldwide requirement for tuna.

Frabelle currently supplies the canneries in Spain, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and the US  but Laurel said they are looking into getting more of the market  share with the addition of new fishing vessels. “Frabelle is number one in the world when it comes to fleet size and is the third largest in terms of volume of tuna. So we are modernizing [our fleets] to out-catch them,” he said.   He disclosed that they plan to complete adding nine new fishing vessels by 2015.

The FV Kaile 888 is the second addition to the more than 100 fishing vessels by the company but the first to be inaugurated here in the country. Its construction started in Taiwan fourteen months ago. It took its maiden voyage the same day after its inauguration and will sail within the Western and Central Pacific seas as far as Papua New Guinea (PNG), Micronesia, Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic.

With FV Kaile 888, Frabelle is strengthening its position as a major player in the local food industry. Aside from operating a cannery in Papua New Guinea, Frabelle owns fish and meat processing plants in the country that produce a wide range of fresh-processed products under the brand name, Frabelle Foods. The said brand added meat products to its line-up three years ago.