Fishing firm acquires modern $14-M vessel

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


HOMEGROWN conglomerate RD Corp. has acquired a state-of-the-art fishing vessel worth around P612 million to improve its tuna catch volume amid the conservation efforts observed in portions of the Pacific Ocean.

Fishing tycoon Rodrigo E. Rivera Sr., RD Corp. president and founder, said the recent acquisition of the modern super seiner fishing vessel was in partnership with Taiwan-based Farewell Fishing Co. Ltd.

The brand-new F/V Discovery 101 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.

"The acquisition of the vessel is historic for us and the local fishing industry in that it is brand new. Local fishing companies usually used reconditioned or second-hand boats bought from other countries," Rivera said.

Rivera said the new fishing vessel will be operated by RD Fishing Industry, Inc. and 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, the "Tuna Capital of the Philippines," consisting 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 super seiners 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 Corp operates Philbest Canning Corp, one of the six tuna canneries 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 bullish 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.

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, Wang said.

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.

Ronel C. Rivera, vice president of RD Fishing, reportedly said the acquisition of the new fishing vessel was in anticipation of the growing campaign against FAD fishing by international environmental groups.

Already, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission has banned for a few months 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, 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. (Bong S. Sarmiento)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 22, 2010.

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