The Department of Fisheries (DOF) has revealed Vanuatu is expected to see some return from its tuna by the end of 2019. DOF Director William Naviti made the revelation whilst responding to queries about the future of the Fish Processing Plant at Blacksands area on Efate.

The plant is a government joint venture with the CNFC Company. Since the establishment of the plant, it has yet to operate to its full capacity.According to the DOF, the plant will process tuna caught in Vanuatu waters, processed and packaged then sold to overseas market.In response to references of “the White Elephant”, Director Naviti confirmed that the Board of Sino-Van Fisheries Limited will be meeting mid-March to consider tenders for the contracts of the construction of pontoons at Paray Bay as well as the renovations to the fish processing plant and the construction of warehouses at Marobe, paving way for fishing vessels to offload tuna caught in Vanuatu waters by October.“It is time we make significant change to ensure the fish processing plant serves its purpose to enhance socio-economic benefits to Vanuatu,” says Naviti.

Vanuatu currently makes returns from fees paid by foreign fishing vessels, however it cannot continue depend on license fees alone because continual increases may be detrimental to Vanuatu as foreign fishing vessels opt to fishing neighboring waters where fees charged are lower and fishing conditions are more favorable.

“Our way of improving and maximizing benefits from the tuna fishery is getting the onshore processing facility ready to function, then activating the policy of fish onshore processing which will see the discontinuation of foreign fishing licensing to locally-based foreign fishing licensing (lower license fees) with the requirement to land more than 5,000 metric tonnes of tuna and tuna-like species in Vanuatu, and charging a 5% export levy on all fish exports form Vanuatu,” Director Naviti explained.
“If everything goes according to plan, we intend to commence the implementation of this new policy as of 1st January 2020.”

Source: Dailypost

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