SEYCHELLES – Thai Union Group, Thailand-based producer of seafood products, is planning to inject 10 million euros (US$10.5m) in the Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT), a fish canning company in Seychelles, in the next two years.
IOT, one of the largest fish canning facilities in the world with an average production of 1.5 million cans of tuna per day, is 40% owned by the Seychelles government and 60% by Thai Union.
The new investment announcement was made by Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union Group president during his meeting with Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan.
With this new investment, the company wants to expand its production capacity and strengthen its presence in the country where it has been present for more than a decade.
“Over the last five years our company has invested over 40 million euros (US$42m), and we will also have 10 additional in the next two years,” said Chansiri.
The IOT, located in the New Port in the capital of Victoria, manufactures and exports canned tuna.
President Ramkalawan welcomed the prospected investment stating, “We look forward to exploring new avenues in which we can further expand our cooperation. I take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the trust and your continuous investment in this industry in Seychelles.
“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the fisheries industry overtook our tourism sector and really supported the country. We appreciate the support and look forward to strengthening this partnership.”
The fishing sector is the second pillar of the Seychelles economy after tourism. It accounts for more than 90% of total exports and employs nearly 17% of the active population according to the World Bank.
To ensure growth of the key sector, the government has marked out a new fish processing zone for private industry players, where industrial fish processing and related projects will be centrally located.
The piece of land to be allocated to private investors covers 70,000 square metres and is located on the manmade island of Ile du Port off the main island of Mahe.
Prior to undertaking any activities, the factories operations which include filleting, removal of loins, steaking, pre-cooking and canning will have to be of be approved by the Competent Authority of the Seychelles Bureau of Standard (SBS).
The main fish to be processed in the facilities is tuna, but there is potential of processing fish harvested from aquaculture, which the government is considering.
Around 400,000 tons of tuna are caught by purse seiners annually in the South-West Indian Ocean, of which around 80,000 tons are caught in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).