$21-M tuna cannery plant to rise in Surigao City

The economic activity in this city is expected to get a big boost after an American and Japanese business partnership is set to construct a $21-million tuna cannery plant here, city officials said recently.

It was learned that Crystal Corporation will release an initial amount of $8 million for the implementation of this tuna cannery plant.

Along with some members of the City Council, Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas said the proposed tuna cannery site will be located in an almost three-hectare area in Barangay Lipata, about seven kilometers away from the heart of this city.

“The construction of this tuna cannery plant might start before the end of this year or early next year and expected to be finished within eight months,” said Matugas.

He said the modern tuna factory is also expected to generate 2,500 to 3,000 job opportunities when it starts.

The local chief executive viewed that the plant is “really a modern-type and first-class tuna cannery plant where tons of tuna fish will be accommodated when fully operational.”

“This is really a big boost to our local economy and will add livelihood to our fishing groups and fishermen, not only in this booming city but as well as other neighboring cities and provinces in Mindanao,” said Matugas.

As this developed, the city chief executive ordered the planning development staff, engineering and other concerned division chiefs to assist the company in the preparation of the needed additional government requirements for the start and mobilization if the project.

Meanwhile, statistical records from different sources of the government and private fishing business groups showed that fishing is a P50 billion industry in the Philippines, contributing almost five percent of the country’s gross national product (GNP), it was gathered.

With an annual production volume of almost 2.5 million metric tons of fish, it directly provides livelihood and employment to almost 1.5 million Filipinos.

Tuna is among the 200 or so species of fish found in the country that have high commercial value.

The Philippines ranks 7th among the top tuna producing countries in the world in terms of fresh or frozen tuna, including canned tuna.

The tuna fishing industry had never been this promising and lucrative since its birth only on this side of the earth at General Santos City, lying at the head of the Sarangani Bay, in Southern Mindanao as early as 1970.

Accordingly, an average daily catch capacity of 750 metric tons (MT) and employing around 7,800 plant workers in General Santos City and neighboring areas, the volume of catch on a per day basis is even insignificant as to the distribution in the market.

As of September of last year alone, the total catch reached a voluminous 5,031,866 kilos where “sashimi” grade adult tuna comprises 35 percent or about 1,774,922 kilos. (MB)

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