Lae becomes regional fish-processing centre
Lae is set to become the South Pacific’s main fish-processing centre, with the opening of one massive new cannery, the commencement of construction for another, and more on the drawing board.
In June 2013, the Thailand fishing company, Thai Union, opened the region’s biggest fish-processing centre, Majestic Seafood. On the same day, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill turned the soil for another new plant—a joint Taiwanese-Filipino partnership involving Frabelle Fishing Corporation—which will process 200 metric tonnes of fish per day when it opens.
Majestic Seafood is a joint venture between Frabelle Fishing Corporation of the Philippines, Philippine-based Century Canning Corporation, and Thailand’s Thai Union Corporation (a subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Products—the largest tuna canner in the world).
In its first phase, the plant will process 150 metric tonnes of tuna per day, employing 2500 people. That will rise to 350 tonnes per day when the second phase is completed in three-to-five years. Sylvester Pokajam, Managing Director of PNG’s National Fisheries Authority, told Made in PNG that the Majestic plant would eventually have the capacity to process 600 metric tonnes of tuna per day.
He said the plant has ‘the most advanced tuna processing equipment’ in the world.
Majestic Seafood joins two existing processing plants in Lae, run by International Food Corporation and Frabelle.
As well, three more canneries are planned.
The Chinese-owned Zhoushan Zhenyang Deep-Sea Fishing Company plans to build a tuna loin plant to process 250 to 300 metric tonnes per day, employing 3000 local workers.
The Korean firm Dongwon is also seeking to build a tuna loin plant, while Nambawan Seafood, a joint venture between Trans Pacific Journey Corporation and TSP Marine of the Philippines and a Taiwanese company, is also on the drawing board.
Fish processing is a growing sector in PNG.