Massive new freezer gives Seychelles a bigger foothold in the fish industry
The facility, which took about five years to be completed and cost $37 million, was made possible by both local and foreign investors. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' Central Common Cold Store, the largest cold storage facility in the country, officially started operations Tuesday.
Located on Ile du Port on zone 14, the Central Common Cold Store provides 12,600 tonnes of cold rental storage to clients who want to freeze their fish at either minus 20 or minus 40 degrees Celsius. It also provides grading, sorting, sizing and storage of tuna in accordance with client specific requirements.
The chairperson of the facility, Peter Sinon, explained that once a vessel berths, fish are unloaded onto the loading tables and then sorted by type and size and then weighted.
"Just by doing this we have added value to the fish," said Sinon, adding that the opening of the facility not only adds to the fishing industry but also creates job opportunities for Seychellois.
"The main challenge we have now is to get people who are skilled in specific areas. We are giving the priority to Seychellois, and so far, we have received more than 115 applications that we have to interview and vet their skills. There will, however, be the need for expatriates to do certain jobs," he added.
At the moment the facility employs about 25 staff and there are opportunities for forklift drivers, engineers, technicians, fish sorters, and administration officers among others.
The director-general of the facility, Arthur de Bretagne, said that "all in all, when things are in full swing, we will need over 100 staff. We are encouraging hardworking and motivated Seychellois to join our team."
Although it opened officially on Tuesday, the facility started operations on Monday, where the first 70 tonnes of fish were placed into the cold storage.
|The facility, which took about five years to be completed and cost $37 million, was made possible by both local and foreign investors. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
"Full operation is going to start by the end of this week, however, the full-scale operation will be in January when the purse seiners return as at the moment most have reached their quota," said de Bretagne.
The facility, which took about five years to be completed and cost $37 million, was made possible by both local and foreign investors. Among shareholders are the government of Seychelles, the Seychelles Pension Fund, United Concrete Products Seychelles (UCPS), Ile Du Port Handling Services (IPHS) and SAPMER with 10 percent shares each.
The Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) company holds a six percent share, while all Seychellois individuals together hold 11.5 percent share. The largest shareholder is Luxemburg-based JACCAR Holdings with a 26 percent share.
In his address, Seychelles' fisheries minister, Jean-Francois Ferrari, outlined that "we are on a journey to restore Seychelles as the tuna hub of the Indian Ocean, and today is an important milestone in this journey."
He said that for many years "we have watched as our country's tuna industry developed and expanded, mainly on the seas. Very little, apart from the canning factory, was being constructed on land. The fishing vessels came in, unloaded the fish into reefer vessels or more recently into containers, some were transferred to the canning factory and the rest were shipped away to more distant shores where most of the transformation and value addition is done."
Ferrari said these were the days of missed opportunities for a developing nation looking to open doors for its workforce and chasing extra revenue for the country.
Fisheries is the second top economic contributor to the island nation in the western Indian Ocean.