Etosha Fishing Enterprises is investing at least N$24 million in a new fishmeal plant that will produce fishmeal of a higher protein content while saving on energy costs.

The old fishmeal plant, in operation since 1965, is currently being demolished. According to Etosha Fishing Managing Director Pieter Greeff the new plant should be ready for operation in September 2016 and will be able to process up to 300 tonnes of raw fish per day. Fishmeal is produced from leftovers of the canning and wet fish processes in other parts of the factory.

“The investment in the new plant means that fishmeal will be steam dried, delivering a higher protein content product more suitable to the international market. The way the new plant is designed will also save on energy costs because 80 percent of the steam will be reused in the evaporators. After the waste steam has gone through all the processes it will be processed through a seawater scrubber to minimise the odour associated with fishmeal plants,” says Greeff.

Etosha Fishing, then known as the Walvis Bay Canning Company, pioneered Namibia’s fishing industry in the 1940s with the country’s first fishmeal and canning plant. Today Etosha Fishing is considered to be one of the best canning facilities in the world with HACCP compliance and EU accreditation.

Throughout its history the company has contributed to the dramatic increase in the utilisation of pilchards for human consumption. Etosha Fishing is proudly associated with the Lucky Star brand, the canned fish market leader in Southern Africa and well-known in many world markets, through a shareholding agreement with Oceana Group Limited concluded in 2000.

In recent years the company broke ground with the introduction of Namibia’s first canned horse mackerel product range called EFUTA Maasbanker, the first Namibian canned product to receive the NSI Standard Mark of Conformity product endorsement. It also carries Halaal Certification and is a proudly Namibian product displaying the Team Namibia logo. It was successfully introduced to the Namibian retail market, now available on the shelves of all major retailers, and continue to achieve huge success as an export product to other southern African markets.

The canning of EFUTA Maasbanker was a direct response to repeated calls by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for employment creation and value addition in the fishing sector, which is directly in line with the Government’s Vision 2030 and NDP4 policy framework. It also materialised Etosha Fishing’s vision of putting the country’s most valuable fish resource in a can, offering the nation an affordable, nutritious meal from the sea.

Etosha Fishing is well-known for its innovative thinking in order to ensure the sustainability of the company and the development of the local fishing industry. With Namibia’s pilchard resources under pressure, it has been importing in excess of 20,000 metric tons of frozen pilchards for processing on local soil since 2010, which has contributed to more than 40 weeks of additional employment for seasonal workers during the 2010 to 2014 period. Etosha Fishing’s allocated total allowable catch (TAC) of pilchard and horse mackerel only provides employment for approximately 4 months of the year. Through these imports jobs are extended by at least another 5 months of the year.

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