New direction for Tunacor

Job creation through value addition

14 July 2019 | Fishing

Sidney Martin; Tunacor; “Horse mackerel … will now be caught with wet fish trawlers,”

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw

The Tunacor Group hosted the ground-breaking of a new horse mackerel land-based value addition factory on Friday.

The factory, which is expected to be completed by February 2020, will create 250 jobs. It will boast a 4 000 m² solar panel roof, which will generate electricity for the factory’s processing operations.

Tunacor Group’s chairman Sidney Martin said the group is heading into a new direction. “Horse mackerel is usually caught in big freezer trawlers, but with the addition of the new factory, it will be caught with wet fish trawlers, brought to shore and then processed as wet fish.”

The factory is a joint venture between Tunacor and their associated right holders which include Diaz Fishing, Spoto Fishing, Atlantic Harvesters of Namibia, Hefdy Group of Companies and Namibia Seaweed Processors.

Taking the lead

Fisheries and marine resources Bernhard Esau commended Tunacor for taking the lead when it comes to job creation in the fishing industry. “I encourage you to undertake this initiative in a timely manner - and finalise it without delay because we need new jobs, and the value addition which comes with it. For those who are looking for and demanding jobs, here is your opportunity.”

Esau once again emphasised that many did not believe him when he advocated for horse mackerel value addition.

“Many in the fishing industry told me that this was not possible, and that there is no market for value added horse mackerel. Back then I was convinced that continuing to export our horse mackerel frozen on board freezer vessels meant that we would not unlock employment potential in this sector. This was unacceptable to me.”

The minister said that he was happy that members of the fishing industry heeded his call. “We have products such as horse mackerel H&G, fillets and canned horse mackerel that are successfully commercialised in various markets by our right holders.”

He also emphasised that value addition in all species of fisheries but especially horse mackerel, is the way forward.

“In terms of NDP5, by 2022, 70% of our total 350 000 metric tonnes of horse mackerel TAC, which is about 250 000 metric tonnes, should be value added on shore.”

Esau pointed out that of the 16 500 direct jobs in the fisheries sector, hake creates about 10 000 jobs, while horse mackerel creates less than 4 000 jobs.

“This is an unacceptable situation, considering that horse mackerel is our largest fishery by volume, and it has about the same value in monetary terms when compared to hake. The higher number of jobs in the hake subsector is as a result of the 70/30 policy, and we are now determined to implement the same policy in the horse mackerel subsector.”

He called on right holders to adjust their mindset towards a value addition mode. “It will be difficult for right holders who are not doing value addition to meet the criteria on the number of jobs per metric tonnes quota as outlined in our scorecard, which is on course.”

He urged right holders to take advantage of the period leading up to gazettement of the scorecard, to ensure that they are compliant.

“Value addition is government policy and is here to stay.”