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General News of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: GNA

Ghana to process tuna in large quantities

Tema, Feb 26, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister for Fisheries, has said Ghana would, from the middle of this year, harvest and process tuna in large quantities for export to European markets under the Phenegan Project.

The Phenegan Project is a private Partnership Programme between Ghanaian offshore canoe operators, Dutch and Philippians vessel operators to harvest tuna from Ghana to be processed by fishing companies in the country before exporting to the European markets. Mrs Asmah, who said this on Monday when she visited three fish processing companies in Tema and Prampram to assess their activities and readiness for the take off of the project, said the Netherlands government had given a one million euro grant for the start of the project.

The companies she toured were Divine Seafoods Limited, Ghana Protein and West Africa Fishery.

She said the current practice of exporting most of the country's fresh tuna would change with the start of the project as it aimed at adding value to the fish.

The project would also facilitate an increase over the country's 50,000 tonnes of canned tuna and 70,000 metric tonnes fish in its raw state exported last year.

Mr Isaac Appiah, General Manager of Ghana Seafood Management Limited (Managers of Divine Seafoods Limited) said the company started processing fish for the local market two years ago after a break in operation for nine years.

Mr Appiah said the company deals in fish fillets, prawns, tuna and lobsters and that the major challenge of the company was lack of tuna in the lean season.

Mr Bernard Marroncles, External Auditor of Ghana Protein, said the company that had been in operation for the past two years processes tuna scraps bought from Pioneer Food Cannery into fish meal. Mr Marroncles said because the company was not exporting its produce, it processes 150 metric tonnes of fish meal daily for the local market instead of the 300 metric tonnes capacity.

He said the company also extracts fish oil from the process but said currently it is not on commercial basis.

Mr Lopez Soto, Chief Executive Officer of West Africa Fishery, told the Minister that the company produces 30 tonnes of fresh fish daily for export to Europe.

Mr Soto said the company exported 500 metric tonnes of octopus and tuna last year.

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