By Gao Fu Mao
A leading Chinese international fishing company is promising to upskill the fishing industry in Mauritania in return for fishing access in its exclusive economic zone.
Meeting with officials from Mauritanian fisheries officials at a “long-distance fishing technology forum” in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou recently, Lan Ping Yong, the head of Hong Dong Fishing Co., said his company wants to expand its presence in West Africa and Southeast Asia.
“We will link up with China’s national strategy and build a new Fuzhou on the seas!” he said. “Faced with challenges at home, we need to build bases overseas…to ensure the sustainable development of our company,” Lan told local press attending the conference. His firm, he said, is the largest in the region and has five bases around the world which serve as processing, freezing and logistics hubs.
Hong Dong’s largest base is in Mauritania, which has “huge fisheries resources…but lacks finance and skills,” according to Chen Zhong Jie, secretary of the board of directors at Hong Dong. Chen claimed the firm has invested at least USD 100 million (EUR 85.8 million) since 2011, the largest-ever foreign direct investment in Mauritania. The company reported the base delivered revenues of USD 6 million (EUR 5.2 million) in 2016, up 20 percent year-on-year over 2015.
Founded in 1999 and located in the Fuzhou free trade zone, Hong Dong employs 2,600 people in a string of Fuzhou-based seafood processing subsidiaries and a Hong Kong-based shipping company. In 2016, the company had 110 vessels in operation and 60 under construction – among them seine, dragnet and driftnet trawlers.