19 Sep 2007

Vanuatu government faces opposition to Chinese fish processing plant in Vila

7:47 pm on 19 September 2007

Vanuatu's government is under pressure from various interest groups to stop the construction of a major fish processing plant in Port Vila.

Earlier this year Vanuatu and China signed an agreement to build the fish factory, which will process mostly big eye tuna and yellowfin tuna for exporting to foreign markets.

Clearing of the site for construction of the factory, which is expected to take two years, has already taken place.

However Vanuatu's Big Game Fishing Association has expressed concern that the involvement of Chinese longliners in Vanuatu's fishing zone could wipe out all competition.

The Association says Chinese monopoly of Vanuatu's fishing could also discourage big game fishermen from around the world from coming to the country.

Furthermore, Vanuatu's Hotel and Resorts Association is worried that there are too many unanswered questions over the impact of the plant.

While Vanuatu's government is yet to respond to the concerns, it has said the plant will provide jobs for up to a hundred local people.