HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

‘Golden Tuna’ latest export venture for government
Government has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tuna product giant, Starkist, to process and assist with the branding of our own “Cook Islands Golden Tuna” canned Tuna product range.
Minister for Marine Resources, Hon. Teina Bishop, says that when he discovered the Cook Islands currently imports around $500,000 worth of fish per annum, he felt Cook Islanders should be eating their own fish, tinned or otherwise. He also cited health reasons of having an affordable source of protein available for the people of the Cook Islands as a motivator to signing the MOU. Starkist operates the processing factory in Pago where approximately 90% of all our commercially caught fish goes.
Bishop says in return for the $395,000 Starkist will put towards the Golden Tuna brand, there will be provisions in the licenses given to commercial fishing vessels that ensure fish sold to the factory are always at a fair and reasonable market price as well as that most of our Albacore catch is directed to the factory.
The entire Starkist range will be available to become “Golden Tuna” product, which includes tuna lunch packs for children, a particular favourite of the Minister. Bishop is excited at the prospect of turning the Golden Tuna brand into a lucrative export for the country. While he acknowledged that the brand recognition of the Cook Island product will be invaluable, especially in markets such as China and the European Union, it is more the prospect of attaining a product for export without having to build the accompanying infrastructure (such as a processing factory) that was attractive.
The Minister has engaged Teremoana Mato at the Pacific Trade Organisation based in New Zealand to begin working on the long term marketing plan for the brand. He also mentioned that he will be in talks with the private sector, BTIB, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various Pacific trade organisations in regards to the long-term management of the brand.
As part of this deal, Southern China Fishery Company Ltd., a subsidiary of Luen Thai Fishing Venture Ltd, is looking to establish a fishing base out of Rarotonga, which will include the provision of a commercial deep freeze for freezing Big Eye Tuna to temperatures of around minus 60 degrees. The Albacore caught will go to the factory in Pago, to be processed for Golden Tuna products for export. The fishing company is requesting an increase in their licenses issued from the current 8 licenses to a total of 20 by October. -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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