Tuna fisheries in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: www.trimarinegroup.com)
Tuna cannery owner wants to boost region's processing capacity
Monday, October 08, 2012, 05:00 (GMT + 9)
The owner of the Samoa Tuna Processors cannery wants the territory to become the regional hub for fish processing to grow its business.
Tri Marine International, which owns the cannery, wishes to advance its plans by helping Pacific island countries take greater ownership of the fish harvested from their territorial waters.
Managing director Joe Hamby said that unlike American Samoa, many Pacific island countries do not have the land mass, population or infrastructure to have boats unload fish on their land and implement fish processing. Therefore, American Samoa is a logical choice for a processing hub.
“If the boats that fish in Tuvalu never unload in Tuvalu and they never have a chance to see what is happening, then they’re not able to manage their fishery as well as they might otherwise. So by partnering with say, American Samoa, they can direct their fish to come here,” Hamby elaborated, RNZI reports.
“They can say, you want to fish in American Samoa waters, the fish has to be unloaded in American Samoa. That’s a very revolutionary idea but it’s possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior executives and owners of Tri Marine International -- including the chairman, CEO and majority shareholder of Tri Marine Renato Curto and other shareholders -- are in American Samoa to supervise construction at the Samoa Tuna Processors Plant and explore some of its purse seiners.
The visiting group has met with Governor Togiola Tulafono and inspected the plant and shipyard.
Samoa Tuna Processors has received approval to proceed with the second phase of construction at its plant in Atu’u. The new facility will cover nearly 40,000 sqft, with the capacity to store over 5,000 tonnes of tuna.
The project represents an investment of about USD 200 million in the territory.
Tri Marine International is looking at hiring in excess of 1,000 workers for its new facility, but the company has been waiting for more than a year to get a federal permit approved to rebuild a collapsed seawall adjacent to the plant, according to Curto and other company officials, Samoa News reports.
“American Samoa is obviously a strategic part of our business and our group,” said Curto.
Further, although Tri Marine is making good progress in American Samoa, the US Army Corps of Engineers permit is holding back the cannery plant construction, the firm communicated.
By Natalia Real