Suva (Fiji Times) – THE Pacific Fishing Company Ltd (PAFCO) says the main reason it is unable to increase the amount of fish it processes is because of a lack of raw materials.
The company processes about 20,000 tonnes per year and employs 1000 workers but says it is willing and able to increase that amount to 30,000 tonnes per year provided they get more fish to process.
And PAFCO chairman Ikbal Jannif says they are still trying to come to grips with why they are unable to secure more tuna for processing.
“We are still trying to figure out why we are not able to get that fish, we know that there is albacore that is landed in Fiji which does not come to the local processors,” Mr Jannif said.
“For some reason albacore that is landed in Suva is being exported rather than being sold to the local processors. We are prepared to pay the going price but still fish is being sold and taken out of Fiji for processing elsewhere.”
He said they were aware that certain countries subsidised their own fishing vessels, provided the catch was exported back and this was one of the reasons they could not secure more fish.
He said another major challenge was getting reliable data on how much fish was being landed, what species were being landed and when boats arrived in Fiji.
“The boats don’t only catch tuna so the bycatch is there as well but we have not been able to get data that would show us how much albacore is landed but also how much other species are being landed, not only of tuna but other by catch like mahimahi.
“So if we can get that data and then we will be able to determine how much is actually leaving the country,” Mr Jannif said.