This was highlighted early this week by Philip Roberts managing director Tri-Marine International based in Singapore.
Mr Roberts was a guest speaker at the two days media training held at Novotel hotel in Lami, Suva, Fiji organised by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) with the support from Pew Charity Trusts.
Several regional business/economic reporters attended the media training.
Soltuna is owned by Tri-Marine, National Provident Fund (NPF), Western provincial government and Solomon Islands government through the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands (ICSI).
Mr Roberts told the journalists, tuna experts and associates that Soltuna has a success story after developing a policy for the longline fishery.
He highlighted that following the implementation of the policy there have been some positive outcomes.
“This new policy had resulted in the reduction of longline vessels operating in Solomon Islands from more than 250 to about 180.
“It also allows for onshore investment, the expansion of Soltuna and National Fisheries Development (NFD) at Noro , Western province.”
He added that with more longliners unloading their catch for processing at Noro it allows for more recruitment and additional 500 jobs.
With a new processing facility at Honiara, it had also offered 20 more jobs plus 40-50 vessel crew, he added.
“Because of more unloading done at Noro, it means less trans-shipment and offloading elsewhere like in Fiji.
“It also means more economic activities ranging from freight, supplies, services, foreign exchange and communications.”
However Mr Roberts said there is much room for improvement such as monitoring of some of the longliners who got away from the local waters to offload elsewhere without being penalised, reduction of vehicles to meet scientific advice relating to depleting tuna stocks and allocation of fishing licenses to match local economic benefits.
He added that regional government has an important role to support and implement their policies inorder for their countries to reap better returns for their resources.
Soltuna is currently the country’s sole tuna loining and canning processor based in Noro, Western Province. The company commenced operations in 1973 as Solomon Taiyo Limited, a 100% pole and line tuna fishing operation.
Since then it has grown to become exclusively a tuna processing operation comprising a cannery, loining and cold storage facility.
Last year the International Finance Corporation has supported Soltuna with funds to support the expansion and upgrade of SolTuna’s tuna processing plant and increase capacity from 90 metric tonnes per day currently to 150 metric tonnes per day.
By MOFFAT MAMU
In Suva, FIJI