THE Western Fishing Company Limited (WFCL) has now been certified and recognised by Earth Island Institute (EII) as dolphin safe listed tuna company.
This means it can export its tuna products anywhere around the world once it is operational.
The certification of the company follows a visit by the Earth Island Institute Director Mark Berman and his Pacific-based Director Lawrence Makili to the Western Province last week.
The duo visited the Soltai Fishing and Processing Limited base in Noro to certify the operations as dolphin safe before visiting the western provincial premier George Lilo.
Speaking to Solomon Star yesterday Mr Berman said, "I can now confirm that newly established Western Fishing Company Limited has now been certified by Earth Island and it is now on our list as a dolphin safe company.
"This is a good news for the Western province government and its people because they have our approval to export their products to any market around world," Mr Berman who leaves the country today said yesterday.
WFCL is also a subsidiary company of the Western Province Investment Corporation, which is the commercial arm of the Western Province Government, established by ordinance.
It was in November last year that WFCL has established a joint venture deal with a Filipino company registered as Solomon Ventures Limited for the tuna fishing operations.
In the proposed joint fishing venture entity, the Western Fishing Company Limited will be entitled to subscribe to 20% shares in the proposed joint venture company whilst the Filipino owned company will be entitled to 80% shares in the proposed joint venture company.
The parties have also agreed that Western Fishing Company Limited may in due course increase its shareholding to a maximum of 40% shares in the joint venture company.
Solomon Ventures Limited is owned by Celebes Tuna Fishing Corporation which has been involved in the fishing industry for the last 40 years.
They have a wealth of experience in fishing, in particular purse seining and hand-line fishing in the Philippines.
The joint venture is expected to pave the way for more employment, livelihood and economic opportunities for the people in the Western Province.
Mr Berman said owner of the company Jerry Damalerio and his tuna fishing companies in General Santos City, Philippines, are long term strong supporters of Earth Island Institute.
"This proves that the dolphin safe tuna sector will create needed jobs, not the illicit live dolphin trade found in Guadalcanal," he said.
Mr Berman, who usually certifies tuna operations in the country, said there can be no investment in factories in Guadalcanal provinces as long as this dolphin trade persists.
"It is hoped the governments of Guadalcanal will follow the excellent and progressive lead of the Western province," he said.
Berman said the new set up is a proof that dolphine Tuna growth can happen in the Solomons when it is confirmed that Western Province will continue to protect dolphins in its waters from capture and trade.
Berman who spoke with the Western Premier George Lilo last week said that dolphins are free and protected in the Western Province.
"We are pleased with the Western province's commitment and we will continue to support them," he said.
Mr Berman said another new tuna company has also shown interest to invest in the Western province.
"We will no doubt support this new company to invest in the western province," he said.
By MOFFAT MAMU
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