First catch under new policy offloaded
The Solomon Islands has introduced a new longline policy. © SPTO
Following the introduction of a new longline policy in the Solomon Islands, the first offload of longline catch by Southern Sea Investment in the country’s capital, Honiara, took place at the beginning of July.
The policy change means that all longline licence holders must offload their catches in the country, whilst companies that do not own factories are required under law to supply their catches to Soltai, one of the South Pacific largest manufacturers of tuna products, reports the Solomon Star.
Prior to the new policy, longline companies were only allowed to do trans-shipments overseas, but according to Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Alfred Ghiro, the National Coalition for Reform and Advancement’s (NCRA) shift of policy was put in place to ensure that there was sustainable harvesting of the country’s tuna resources and to maximise profit.
Mr Ghiro said the policy has significantly reduced longline licenses from 300 to just 180.
The minister witnessed the delivery of the catch by SSI to its new Honiara factory and said, “This is a major achievement for our fisheries sector and one that will greatly benefit our people and the country.”
Under the new policy, the ministry expects licence holders to build processing pants in the country and if they are unable to do that by next year they are still required to continue to feed Noro in the Western Province, or else their licenses will be cancelled.
Taiwanese company Global will soon open its processing plant at Noro and is has been reported that the government is optimistic that the loin factory at Tenaru will be developed soon, as well as another one planned for Suava Bay on Malaita.
Mr Ghiro said that the policy change aims to maximise benefit of the country’s resources, create employment and contribute to socio-economic growth of the country. He added that creating products locally will add value to the product and services before being exported.
The Solomon Star reports that it is understood that the SSI tuna will be produced in Honiara to meet international standards before it is exported to Asian, Australian and, in the future, European markets.
Southern Seas Investment is now the country’s second fishing company with off-shore facilities after Soltai.
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