Two PH tuna firms to open cannery in PNG
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Two PH tuna firms to open cannery in PNG

Two Philippine tuna companies have hooked up with Thailand’s Thai Union Corporation to establish the Majestic Seafood in Papua New Guinea which, according to reports, will open in two months.

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A Filipino fisherman sorts tuna, which is exported to Japan, U.S. and Europe, at the General Santos city port, southern Philippines, Pic: AP.

Frabelle Fishing Corporation and Century Canning Corporation are joining Thai Union to set up the USD 37.6 million 200-metric ton capacity canning plant which will bring to eight the total of tuna companies in the tuna-rich Western Pacific country.

Thai Union is the world’s second largest tuna canners.  Thailand is also the world’s largest canned tuna producers.

The Laurel-owned Frabelle Fishing already has its own canning plant in Papua New Guinea while Century Tuna runs the biggest tuna canning plant in the Philippines.

General Santos City-based RD Tuna was the first to establish a cannery in the said Pacific islands-nation.

Papua Guinea recently said it had already overtaken the Philippines as the world’s second biggest producer of canned tuna.   Majestic Seafoods will bring the total daily canned tuna production in Papua New Guinea to more than 1,200 metric tons.

The Philippines produces an average of 750 metric tons of canned tuna a day.

Filipino tuna fishing companies began to establish operations in Papua New Guinea in the late 90s following declining tuna catches in Philippine waters.  Filipino companies opened their first tuna canning plant in the island in 1997.

Filipino fishermen used to enjoy fishing rights in Papua New Guinea.  At the turn of the century, however, Papua New Guinea began restricting tuna fishing within its territorial waters.  Today, it would only allow access to its fishing grounds if foreign companies set up canning and processing plant in the island.

Papua New Guinea lies in the middle of the tuna migratory path that stretches from the Atlantic and Indian oceans and ends up in the Sulu Sea southwest of the Philippines.

Conservation efforts by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to arrest declining tuna catches and to replenish tuna stocks in recent years have led to increasing protectionist policies among tuna producing countries.

Many countries in the region have imposed fishing ban by foreign fishing vessels in their territorial waters.

Papua New Guinea is among the WCPFC member countries that are cashing in on growing global demand for canned, processed and fresh tuna.

The Majestic tuna canning plant will be Papua New Guinea’s biggest canning plant.