Samoa and Yuh Yow Fisheries on a milestone journey to develop deep sea fishing

Tufuga Fagaloa Tufuga (Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Ports Authority, Leong Chan, Deep Sea Fisheries Co. Ltd Managing Director Mr. Chen C. Ting (centre) Mr. Michael Lu & Fanene Mark Betham of BBE

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: MONDAY 25 MAY 2015: A fish processing plant owned by Yuh Yow Fisheries Company Ltd of Taiwan and local business interests was officially opened today at the Apia wharf. The venture is known locally as Apia Deep Sea Fishing Co. Ltd.

In opening the factory today, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi spoke on the importance of the venture between the two countries.

“The opening of this facility marks an achievement of the first ever Fishery Access Agreement (FCA) between the Government of Samoa and a foreign country, a milestone that requires mention and recognition,” said Tuilaepa.

Tuilaepa emphasized that the company will not fish in the Samoan zone allocated for alia fishing boats owned by local fishermen and do not go far.

The company has seven long liner vessels which will be used for deep sea fishing and the catch per day is expected to be 100 tonnes per vessel with 80% going on overseas commercial markets and 20% for the local markets.

Negotiations started in 2012 between Samoa and the Taiwanese Yuh Yow Fisheries Company Ltd and after going through the process in the past three years, Tuilaepa said he was happy with the progress and the end result.

Samoa has never entered an agreement with any country on fishing until now.

“We believe we have finally come up with a good deal that optimizes the benefit to both parties and minimizes costs,” said Tuilaepa.

Tuilaepa also said that they have already addressed the concerns related to Samoa’s obligations to international agreements and conventions and the potential environment issues.

Many consultations took place to address these convention issues, so we would not breach the Fisheries Forum Agency (FFA) requirements especially after the Tuna Conference in Samoa last year, said Tuilaepa.

Other issues that need ironing out include “minute details to ensure that the business interests of the Samoan government and the Yuh Yow Co. Ltd are given due consideration in terms of financial and economic benefits as well as the costs involved.”

Samoa also put into consideration the sustainability of the fisheries resources in the long term.

The Managing Director of the Deep Sea Fishing Co. Ltd, Mr. Chen C. Ting said whilst the negotiations between the two countries started in 2012, the transshipment of the fish from Samoa started in 2009 when they started doing trial runs from the Samoa port to other countries.

Mr. Ting has traveled to Samoa 10 times before the agreement was sealed last year.

On one of his visits, he brought his father, the Chairman of the Yuh Yow Fisheries Co. Ltd. for a short visit to American Samoa.

“He stopped here for a short stay and was impressed with the potential he saw,” said Mr. Ting.

“We have already shipped 600 tonnes of fish overseas before today’s opening,” said Mr. Ting

He claims that his company’s contribution to Samoa’s economy is noted through various areas such as petrol for the vessels which is almost US$3million plus the transshipment costs.

The company is working together with the Betham Brothers Enterprises (BBE) and the Air New Zealand to ship the products to Japan and New Zealand.

The Company employs 15 people to start of the factory who will be responsible for filleting the fish before they are shipped overseas.

The company is currently looking at recruiting more fishermen for the long liners who will be out at sea for a t least 35 to 40 days.

Yuh Yow Fisheries Co. Ltd. also has other plants in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.