Fiji seafood firms Southern Star, Golden Ocean look to exports for growth
Southern Star Seafood’s Fijian subsidiary has obtained a license to export live seafood to the United States and Hong Kong.
The firm, which has operated in Fiji for more than 30 years, will soon begin exporting live mud crab, finfish, spiny lobster, and slipper lobster to the U.S. port of San Francisco, California U.S.A., according to the Fiji Times.
“We believe that there is a strong demand for high-quality, live seafood in the U.S. market, and we are confident that our products will meet the high standards of our customers,” Southern Star Business Development Director Edmond Wong said.
Wong said no live seafood has been exported from Fiji since 2006. Southern Star has built live seafood holding tanks in Nadi, near one of the country’s international airports, and has received approvals from the Fiji Ministry of Health.
“We are the first company granted the license and with strict conditions,” he said.
Wong said Southern Star Seafood is also exploring an expansion of fishing and exports of coral trout and grouper, known locally as donu and kawakawa.
“Everything we do is done with sustainability in mind,” he said. “We are going to upskill local fishermen to start doing day fishing ‘one line, one hook’ and much more targeted to the donu and kawakawa, which will allow them to earn two to three times more per kilogram.”
The company has been supported by Investment Fiji, the country’s economic development agency, which is headed by CEO Kamal Chetty.
“This is a major milestone for the company and the Fijian economy. This export is a sign of the growing confidence of the Fijian seafood industry and its ability to compete in international markets,” Chetty said.
Another Fijian seafood firm getting help with ramping up its exports is Golden Ocean Fish, one of Fiji’s largest seafood suppliers. The company specializes in tuna products, but also fishes, processes, and exports marlin, swordfish, mahi, wahoo, opah, and escolar.
Golden Ocean recently received support from Investment Fiji to attend the Fine Foods New Zealand event in June 2023. Golden Ocean General Manager of Business Development and Marketing Umendra Prasad said the event was an opportunity to spread the word about the quality of the company’s products.
“This will be one of the greater challenges for us to showcase what we have, given the few opportunities,” he said. “Our expectation from this showcase is to gain market shares in tuna products at all levels such as wholesales, distributors, and retailers.”
Photo courtesy of Investment Fiji