GenSan tuna firm upgrades fishing fleet with P612-M vessel

October 21, 2010 12:55 pm 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Oct. 21 – Local tuna fishing firm RD Corporation has upgraded its fishing fleet with the acquisition of a P612-million modern fishing vessel and other related fishery equipment.

Fishing magnate Rodrigo Rivera Sr., president and founder of RD Corporation, said they acquired the new fishing vessel in partnership with a Taiwanese company to help improve their fishing operations in the tuna-rich Pacific seas.

“The acquisition of the vessel is historic for us and the local fishing industry mainly because it’s brand new. Local fishing companies usually utilize reconditioned or second-hand boats bought from other countries,” he said.

The brand-new F/V Discovery 101, which was acquired through Taiwan-based Farewell Fishing Co. Ltd., has a helipad, fish finder equipment and high range satellite device.

It was deployed to tuna-rich Pacific nations early this month and will use a helicopter to find tuna stocks.

Rivera said the new fishing vessel, which will be operated by the conglomerate’s fishing arm RD Fishing Industries, Inc., has a capacity of producing 12,000 metric tons a year.

RD Fishing owns the distinction of having the largest fishing fleet in this city, which is dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.”

The company’s fleet consists of 102 catcher, reefer and carrier vessels, 49 ranger or light boats, a tanker, a tugboat and eight other support vessels.

The combined fish-holding capacity of the fleet’s superseiners ranges from 450 to 1,200 metric tons while the reef vessels have a maximum capacity of 2,400 metric tons, company data showed.

RD Corporation operates Philbest Canning Corporation, one of the six tuna canneries presently operating in the city.

Its business empire extends to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia through onshore investments there in the tuna industry.

Jessie Wang, Farewell Fishing president, said they are optimistic about the prospects of M/V Discovery 101, noting that a mix of foreign and local fishermen will join their expertise on board the new vessel.

He said a Korean boat captain with a record-breaking catch of at least 13,000 metric tons a year from Farewell Fishing would lead the crew.

Rivera said the new joint venture is expected to help the local economy as it will generate about 800 new jobs in the fishing and canning sectors.

Ronnel Rivera, vice president of RD Fishing, said the acquisition of the new fishing vessel was in response to the growing campaign against fishing aggregate devices or FAD fishing by international environmental groups.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission has banned FAD fishing in the western and central Pacific Ocean starting last year until 2011.

The FAD fishing method involves the use of anchored or floating structures that attract fishes to the facilities. Many juvenile fishes are thus caught.

WCPFC imposed the ban among the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), a grouping of Pacific-island states.

Although not a PNA-member country, the Philippines has adopted the ban in its exclusive economic zone as a member of the WCPFC.

Aside from the FAD ban, WCPFC also disallowed purse seine fishing in portions of the Pacific Ocean for two years starting last January 1. (PNA)

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