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Building up a fishy business

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Fish are seen for sale at a market in Siem Reap in November. A new saltwater fish reproduction centre will soon be launched near the coast. Photo by: Will Baxter

I have been waiting for this centre for six years ... the centre will produce young fish that will help raise my profits

SIHANOUKVILLE’S Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing Ltd plans to increase its international monthly exports by half, while the Kingdom prepares to launch its first saltwater fish reproduction centre near the coastal city.

Nautisco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Peou said  the expected rise comes after two new seafood export contracts were agreed with Japanese firms.

The firm will begin exporting to Honda Suisane and Kyokuyo companies beginning next month, enabling Nautisco’s total exports to rise by half to 76 tonnes per month.

“Shrimp exports will gradually increase in the coming years because Cambodia’s shrimp are popular among international buyers,” he said.

Located in Preah Sihanouk province’s Steung Hav district, the US$3 million Nautisco plant can currently process 15 tonnes of shrimp a day.

The company is seeking foreign investment to build a $15 million shrimp farm on 200 hectares of land to provide a source for future exports.

“We plan to sell more shrimp to international markets, if we can collect more shrimp from the community or establish our shrimp farm,” he said.

The firm’s current deals see it exporting 30 tonnes of shrimp per month to Hanwa Company of Japan, and 20 tonnes to South Korea’s Wooil PS Corporation.

Fisheries Administration Deputy Director Sam Nouv said there is increasing demand for Cambodian shrimp from international buyers, but added a constraint came as most fishermen caught shrimp in the shallow waters near the coast.

“In order to increase shrimp production to sustain exports, the fishery administration has encouraged farmers as well as private companies to establish more farms,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cambodia plans to launch its first saltwater fish reproduction centre in Preah Sihanouk province in June this year, according to Sam Nuov, deputy director of the Fisheries Administration.

Funded through Japanese government aid, the $10 million centre will raise sea bass and grouper, as well as shrimp, crab, and lobster, to sell to farmers in coastal areas, he said. “Under this project, we hope Cambodia will be able to double its current production of sea fish,” he said.

The centre will also reduce the cost of fish imports, he added.

“Farmers in the saltwater fishing community will generate more income by purchasing young fish from the centre.”

Angkor Shrimp Farming Company Manager Ung Puth Molika said she welcomed the centre’s launch, adding it would be easier and cheaper to buy locally sourced young  than ordering from abroad.

“I have been waiting for this centre for six years ... I hope the centre will produce young fish that will help raise my profits, rather than importing young fish, which can be nearly half dead when they arrive.”

The firm currently imports its young fish from Thailand, she added.

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