Tourism-starved islands in West Indies, Pacific seeking out Chinese seafood industry investors

Published on
October 26, 2021
A lack of capital caused by a COVID-19-related tourism crunch in the exotic destinations of the West Indies and Tahiti is forcing seafood-related businesses there to reach out to Chinese financiers.

A lack of capital caused by a COVID-19-related tourism crunch in the exotic destinations of the West Indies and Tahiti is forcing seafood-related businesses there to reach out to Chinese financiers.

Turks and Caicos-based DNA Fisheries Owner Albert Capron said he’s seeking Chinese investors looking to take a bet on fishing projects in his home country, an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands in the Caribbean Sea.

“I used to be a tour operator on Grand Turk … but after the pandemic came and the cruise industry came to a halt, I purchased two boats and ventured into the commercial fishing business. I was granted a commercial fishing processing and export license to catch, process, and export seafood,” Capron told SeafoodSource. “Because of the pandemic, most businesses are slowly opening and the demand for seafood is rising, but I don’t have the financial capabilities to continue my export business, so I’m seeking a joint venture partner, or a financier for my business.”

In the South Pacific, aquaculture entrepreneur Lachiche Teheiura is looking to assemble investors for a large mariculture project producing sea cucumber, lobster, and tuna for Asian markets in the waters off Tahiti, in French Polynesia. Teheiura is seeking USD 4 million (EUR 3.4 million) for sea cucumber production in 400,000 hectares of coastal waters to supply Asian markets, he told SeafoodSource. Teheiura is seeking an additional USD 4 million for a lobster hatchery and a tuna hatchery and grow-out facility in Tahitian waters.

Global aquaculture output shrunk by 1.3 percent in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO noted a 5.8 percent drop in the value of global exports of seafood last year, following on from a 2.5 percent decline in 2019. The volume of seafood traded internationally dropped 3.2 percent year-over-year in 2020, according to the FAO.

China recently made a commitment at an FAO aquaculture summit in Shanghai to share aquaculture technology and know-how with developing countries. The country is keen to shore up its own seafood supply lines to satisfy growing demand, even as domestic supply is squeezed by tightening environmental controls and as seafood supply lines into China have been stretched by COVID-19-related restrictions.

Photo courtesy of Ariane27/Shutterstock

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