TUNA FIRMS INTERESTED IN CANNERY IN PALAU

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By Eileen O. Tabaranza

KOROR, Palau (August 21, 2000 - Palau Horizon/PINA Nius Online)---A foundation representing the three largest tuna companies in the United States says it is interested in constructing a tuna cannery and related industries on Palau due to high demand in the world market.

David Burney, a representative of the foundation, signified its intention to put up a tuna cannery on Palau during the recently conducted 6th Multilateral High Level Conference on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish in the Central and Western Pacific.

At the conference, delegate Thomas Patris said the Palauan delegation met with Burney.

"Several conditions must be met before the U.S Tuna Foundation establishes a tuna cannery on Palau, including increasing the amount of tuna that can be exported duty-free to the U.S under the Compact of Free Association and locating a geographic area suitable for a cannery and related facilities," the delegate said.

Burney, according to Patris, indicated that the cannery could only be located in an area that has a large harbor and dock raft, a reliable source of electricity, access to fuel, and at least 15 hectares (37.5 acres) of open land.

He said Ngardmau State was preliminarily identified by Burney as the best site for a tuna cannery.

In light of this Patris has introduced a joint resolution requesting President Kuniwo Nakamura to designate representatives of the republic to negotiate with the foundation to construct a tuna cannery and related facilities in Palau.

Patris made the request as he sees the need to fully tap the most valuable natural resource -- Palau's fisheries, particularly its tuna fishery.

He added that the republic could increase its local revenue generation through its tuna fishery by developing related industries within Palau.

"It is in the best interest of the republic to explore the possibility of establishing a tuna cannery on Palau, in order to increase the private sector employment rate and generate more local revenues from related facilities," he pointed out.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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