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PNG’s Ambition To Become World’s Second Biggest Processor

Philippine companies are planning to further gear up their investment and development activities in the Papua New Guinean (PNG) tuna industry which could contribute the country’s ambition to become the second largest canned tuna exporter. A huge 93 percent of PNG’s fish exports are accounted for by tuna products, and Filipino firms have had involvement in the sector since 1995, with pioneers such as RD Tuna and Frabelle.

 

Other foreign investors have also expressed an interest in joining the Philippines and Thailand by acquiring a share of the PNG fisheries market that has seen significant expansion.

Filipino firm, Cencon Packaging, has begun building a can-making factory to supply PNG canneries, while Rell & Renn Fishing Corp hopes to establish a dried tuna plant and fresh fish operation on Manus Island in northern PNG.

The PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is now considering four applications for foreign direct investment projects in its tuna industry. Korean firm, Dongwon Industries, and Chinese company, Haljisheng, are hoping to gain permission in order to begin construction of a processing plant that will have a production capacity of 200 tons per day. French group, Sapmer, has plans to build a USD 500 million processing plant, 300 meter wharf, cold storage facilities and ship repair yard.

According to PNG NFA Managing Director, Sylvester Pokajam, the new facilities are predicted to create the stepping stones for PNG to climb the ladder to the second-largest canned fish exporter.

In 2012, PNG exported 28,913 tons of canned tuna and pre-cooked loins, while Ecuador, the second largest exporting nation, shipped over 154,000 tons of ready tuna products. So in order to overtake Ecuador’s position as leader to the EU, the Pacific country will need to make substantial steps forward.

In the long-term, the PNG government sees the nation’s fishery industry as a major contribution to plans for developing a sustainable economy through its activities. Investments are also likely to provide significant growth in employment.

Further initiatives include funding for the Department of Defense to improve maritime surveillance and a USD 34.8 million new National Surveillance Centre to be built in Port Moresby, including the purchase of three additional patrol boats from the Philippines. The World Bank has estimated that poaching of PNG’s resources costs the industry USD 860 million per year.