12 Feb 2009

Marshall Islands company hopes to benefit from tuna

11:04 am on 12 February 2009

A Marshall Islands-based company is preparing to buy and operate high-tech fishing vessels, hoping to benefit from the tuna industry.

The Marshall Islands Service Corporation, an off-shoot of the Bank of Marshall Islands, has hired the government's former fisheries director, Danny Wase, as a consultant to help locate a joint venture partner and manage a soon-to-be-launched purse seine fishing operation.

Mr Wase says it's time for Marshall Islanders, as resource owners, to participate in the fishing industry.

The Service Corporation's president and CEO, Patrick Chen, says this is an important project and they need to get into fishing to bring money into the Marshall Islands.

The corporation's move comes as island fishing nations are flexing their muscles demanding a bigger piece of the three-billion US dollar industry that largely benefits distant water fishing nations.

Mr Wase says he and Mr Chen recently spent time meeting with fishing companies in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea and there was a lot of interest in joint venturing with us.

Twenty years ago, the Marshall Islands government tried unsuccessfully to kick start a locally-run commercial fishing industry by buying purse seiners and long-line fishing boats.