Enhanced Tri Marine Seiner To Increase SolTuna Supply

03 May 2018

Tri Marine has transferred its former Cape Horn US-flagged purse seiner to its Solomon Islands subsidiary, NFD, in a bid to “keep pace” with the increased processing capacity and production at its SolTuna plant.

Now taking the name Solomon Topaz, the 1,518 gross tonnage seiner has been reflagged under the PNA nation Solomon Islands and departed for fishing grounds in late April. It underwent an extensive refit in Port Moresby, PNG, the company explains. 

National Fisheries Developments (NFD) is Tri Marine’s Solomon Islands branch of business, which including this new addition, operates seven purse seiners and five pole and line fishing vessels, which are all based out of Noro, the Western Province on the Pacific island.

The catch from this transferred and modernized seiner is aimed at boosting supply to SolTuna, the cannery Tri Marine operates also in Noro. On celebrating the announcement, Frank Wickham, NFD’s Managing Director said the fleet addition was “a win” for the tuna industry on the island and the local communities it supports. “We are thrilled that we can make investments necessary to meet the demand for Solomon Islands tuna products that is driving the growth of NFD and SolTuna.”

The cannery processes tuna products under several brands; Solomon Blue, SolTuna Premium, and more recently Ocean Naturals, Tri Marine’s own brand marketed by its ‘The Tuna Store’ subsidiary. In bringing this brand name under its production it marked the first time SolTuna began exporting to the US market. Ocean Naturals was previously produced in Tri Marine’s American Samoa based facility, however this closed indefinitely at the end of 2016.

Transferring the vessel’s ownership sees NFD purchase the former US flagged seiner, which it also did with Tri Marine’s Cape San Lucas in 2016, which now takes the name Solomon Sapphire. It is explained that reflagging to the Solomon Islands is consistent with the policy of the PNA to increase local participation in the tuna fishery and “further underscores Tri Marine’s commitment to supporting island-based economies where the tuna resources are harvested”.

Renato Curto, CEO of the Tri Marine Group, said the company takes the fact it is an important part of the Solomon Islands tuna industry “very seriously”. It is a privilege to work “side by side” with the government, he added, creating new jobs and growing business.

With the announcement of this move coinciding closely with World Tuna Day, celebrated globally yesterday, Curto added that the time was right to celebrate the growth of sustainable fishing, underlining the MSC certification held by the Solomon Islands purse seine and pole and line fisheries.

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