A worker cutting and cleaning up the tuna before it is thoroughly processed. Image: The Bruneian

One of the highlights of Brunei’s industrial segment was the setting up of Yamako Pacific Brunei last year – a joint venture with Japan which was aimed at accelerating national fisheries production to a better future.

Having established its processing plant at the Fisheries Landing Complex in Muara last year, the firm now continued to stick to its business growth plan, while also do what it can to support the nation’s agenda of developing its self-sustainability and sufficiency capabilities.

Exceeding expectations

Yamako Pacific Brunei started exporting 100 tonnes of processed tuna to Japan in August last year – an achievement that had surpassed the government who, earlier, expected the firm to only be capable of producing up to 60 metric tonnes by end of last year.

The company said such accomplishment was only achievable due to Brunei’s abundant supply of tuna.

Rafiuddin Ghazali, Director of Yamako (B) speaking to the media Image: The Bruneian

Director Rafiuddin Ghazali in a previous interview shared that the company was only able to ship 25 tonnes of tuna to Japan when started its export in July 2018.

“But then we quickly doubled the amount to 50 tonnes the next month and later to 100 tonnes this month,” he said.

Currently, Yamako Pacific Brunei fulfills about 20 tonnes of the export volume while the remaining 80 tonnes are bought from local tuna suppliers.

In an earlier report, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) shared its projection where the country’s fisheries production may see an increase of up to 3,600 metric tonnes by 2022 with Yamako Pacific Brunei’s establishment.

The fisheries sector is also expected to yield an annual $50 million revenue by 2020, and create up to 200 positions for local employment by that time.

Cost-effective, productive method

Yamako Pacific Brunei’s Pole and line fishing method was said to be resilient and sustainable, allowing quality yield without damaging the eco-system in the sea.

A view of the Nakhoda 1, one of the fishing vessels customised for the Pole and Line fishing method to catch more tuna in the Bruneian waters. Image: The Bruneian

The method is similar to fishing using rods, but the pole and line are attached to the vessel and are equipped with the latest technology, allowing the strings to be pulled up automatically whenever a dish is caught.

Once pulled up, fishermen have the choice to keep the fish or to release them; and in this case, if the fishes are too small to be traded, it will be released back into the sea to allow them to repopulate the eco-system.

By practicing the environmentally friendly fishing method, the minister is confident that it can win the hearts of international customers, which is beneficial for Brunei’s export market in the long run.

Investing into the future

The Bruneian previously reported Yamako Pacific (B)’s plans to spend about US$7 million ($9 million) to build its tuna fishing and processing business in the sultanate.

This is a follow-up to its initial expenditure of US$2 million to set up its processing centre, which has officially been opened at the Fish Landing Complex in Muara.

In a previous interview, Yamako Pacific’s Managing Director Alex Yeunh Oi Siong added that about US$4.5 million is also being reserved to bring in nine more fishing vessels.

Yamako Pacific management and staff posing for a group photo during the launch of their processing centre in Muara. Image: The Bruneians

Such investment was a prompt decision made by the company following its visit to Golden Corporation which was set by the SBI Islamic Fund (Brunei) Limited, who was also looking for foreign investors.

As the investment came into motion, Yeunh said the most important thing was to make sure the company can get tuna and process them regularly.

Yamako Pacific Brunei previously shared plans to expand its tuna processing plant further to accommodate the increasing demand for tunas.

The firm also hoped that more Bruneians can be involved in fisheries, as it looks to collaborate further with them.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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