No smelly tuna factory for Tri Marine, bio-filter is cure
A new “bio-filter” will be used by Tri Marine International when its Samoa Tuna Processors Inc., cannery plant and fish mill opens later this year, promising there will be no smelly-cannery odor coming from the new Atu’u plant.
During a recent news conference Tri Marine chief operations officer Joe Hamby told reporters that the dock project is expected to be completed in June this year and recalled that this seawall and dock project has taken time to complete due to the delay in obtaining the necessary permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
He said getting the seawall rebuilt and building a new dock was a “major obstacle” in moving the cannery plant project forward because the seawall and the dock needed to be in place first.
Once the dock is completed, Tri Marine will start “working on the bio-filter [which is] quite a new technology,” he said and explained that “all of the fumes from the fish mill plant will be going into pipes, under the ground, to the bio-filters, which will then be filtered thru coconut husks — removing all the odor — and then go into the atmosphere from there.”
“So you will not have any smell... there will be no smell from this fish mill plant, which is really, really important. It will be a fragrant tuna factory, not a smelly tuna factory,” he said.
(Samoa News would like to note the phrase that is often repeated here on island about the traditional ‘stinky smell’ of the canneries: “…that’s the smell of money”.
Tri Marine was asked if they will have enough fishing boats to supply the new fresh fish facility set to open next month as well as the new cannery slated to open this year, given the fact the local longline fleet tied up their boats in January this year and put them up for sale.
Tri Marine CEO and chairman Renato Curto responded, “we will always give priority to local boats but will need to also use longlines that operate outside of the territory.”
Hamby added there are generally two types of fleets — local and foreign — and they share something in common, which is — they are based in American Samoa.
“Foreign boats come here and they provide as much support to the cannery as the local boats. They also buy fuel locally, they use local services, so they are just as much a part of this community as the local boats, except they don’t live here, which is a big difference,” he said.
However, he said, foreign boats tend to be a little different, and they can go further out and they can stay out longer, “but we will need their supply just as much as we’ll want the local fish supply.”
“The local fleet is important to us, but just having the local fleet alone, will not be enough. What we think we bring to the local fleet is a market for higher value fish. That’s important, that hasn’t existed before,” Hamby said, adding this higher value fish is used for the fresh fish facility.
He also said Tri Marine has a new senior manager, who is responsible regionally, for procurement of this higher quality tuna for the fresh fish facility.
This new manager will also be on island to help the local boat owners understand the handling requirements, to give them some technical advice, based on his experience with this type of fish, “so that they will be able to find, catch and bring to us, this really good quality fish,” Hamby explained.