Agreement casts a wider net for Brunei’s fisheries industry

Azlan Othman

Brunei’s fisheries industry is set to increase production by 2035 and boost the contribution of fisheries exports to the national economy, following an agreement signing between the Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) and Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC) at The Empire Brunei yesterday.

Representing the Department of Fisheries was Acting Director Noraini binti Haji Anggas, while MPC was represented by Chief Financial Officer Lyu Guoli.

Witnessing the signing were Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Abdul Halidi bin Mohd Salleh and MPC Chief Executive Officer Zeng Caili.

Under the agreement, MPC will develop modern and high-tech facilities at the Muara Fish Landing Complex to ensure high-quality and environmentally-friendly services. The modernisation of the complex will also introduce modern terminal equipment for the unloading of catch from fishing vessels and inshore and offshore fish cage farms, as well as the efficiency to load and unload basic supplies on fishing vessels departing from the jetty.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong told the local media, “These facilities will help to advance our Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in the fisheries sector production from 100 million in 2019 to 175 million in 2022.”

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong speaks to the media. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Speaking on the sidelines of the agreement signing, the minister said, “MPC will start the project in January 2021. During the first phase, MPC will put a total of over BND14 million into the project.

“This is a public-private partnership (PPP) project, which once completed, will also generate over 200 job opportunities for local employment to fill the positions of manager, factory worker, complex jetty supervisor, maintenance officer, technical assistant, salesman, assistant worker, driver, cleaner, premises controller, storekeeper and so on.”

The minister said, “It will also provide facilities such as water, ice and oil for fishing vessels. In addition, selected companies will provide more efficient services for fish processing activities in the complex area.

“More vessels will operate through MPC international network, which will invite foreign investors to invest in aquaculture and fish processing, generating more job opportunities for locals.”

Among the special guests at the event were Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong; Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II and Chairman of MPC Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah; Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar; and Minister of Transport and Info-communications and Chairman of the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof.

Also in attendance was Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong.

MPC was selected through an open tendering process held earlier this year. It is a government-linked company (GLC) jointly owned by Beibu Gulf Holding (Hong Kong) Co Limited from the People’s Republic of China and Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd under the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

The project is aimed at boosting the efficiency and safety of vessel navigation to depart, land and berthe at the fish landing jetty; accommodate the increasing numbers of vessel landings and berthing at the jetty; improve product flow efficiency and cleanliness from landing to processing plant; and ensure that products from commercial fishing vessels and inshore and offshore fish farming cages are in compliance with national quality control and food safety requirements and the requirements of the importing countries, including the European Union (EU), the United States (US), Australia, the People’s Republic of China and Japan.

It also aims to make the Muara Fish Landing Complex a safe working environment for all employees, staff members and users.