Three new Chinese vessels Morocco-bound
China’s government continues to press an expansion of the country’s distant-water fleet as a strategic national priority.
A launch party recently took place for three new vessels to be operated by state-owned fishing firm Shandong Provincial Distant Water Fishing Co. (also known as Shandong Fisheries Co), which will be sent to Morocco, adding to the growing Chinese fleet in the country.
The Peony 1, 2, and 3 vessels were sent off following a ceremony attended by government officials, including senior executives of the Shandong offices of Guo Tuo (State Development & Investment Corp.), the state investment company that has put up cash for numerous Chinese ventures overseas.
Expanding into West Africa is a priority for the firm and the provincial government which controls it, company CEO Qi Fu Cheng said at the launch. Cheng led a research trip in 2018 to Morocco and other West African states, including Ghana. And Shandong Fisheries Co. was one of several fisheries firms represented in a delegation led by Chinese Vice Minister for Agriculture Zhang Taolin to Rabat in January to discuss cooperation in agriculture and fisheries with Moroccan officials.
Cheng said the government’s work to “develop the ocean economy” and to “maintain our province’s position at the front of the distant-water fishing industry” had boosted the company in its expansion efforts. Cheng said new dragnet vessels have great potential to deliver on the company’s expansion strategy.
Long the domain of the Spanish fleet, Morocco has become a go-to destination for Chinese fishing companies. Last year, another state-owned company, China Aquatic Products Zhoushan Marine Fisheries Corp (it is often known as ZhouYu), sent eight new vessels to Morocco to fish octopus and other species. ZhouYu, which sells seafood products in China under the Mingzhu brand, originally made its name as a supplier to the lucrative Japanese market, but has since turned its focus to the domestic China market.
Other Chinese players in Morocco include Shanghai Fisheries General Corp (SFGCG) and CNFC Overseas Fishery Co Ltd.
Photo courtesy of CNFC Overseas Fishery Co Ltd.