QINGDAO: Kedah will soon emerge as an international fisheries centre especially for tuna in South East Asia through the establishment of the Kedah Integrated Fishery Terminal (KIFT).
KIFT will be a joint venture between the Kedah State Development Corp (PKNK) and China-based Qingdao Lu Hai Feng Investment Co Ltd (Lu Hai Feng).
The project will involve an investment of about RM1 billion and is targeting fish landings of about one million tonnes annually.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz said Lu Hai Feng had the expertise in the tuna processing sector as it operated a dedicated port for tuna fish here.
"The Qingdao local council and Lu Hai Feng are interested to use Kedah as an international fisheries centre for tuna caught in the Indian ocean, which is rich in this high-value commodity.
"The proposal to set up KIFT is to cater for the excess tuna fish caught in the Indian ocean which can be processed in Kedah and exported to China via the Qingdao port," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Kedah State Development Corp Chief Executive Officer Datuk Abd Rahim Man and Lu Hai Feng General Manager Liu Jisheng.
Mukhriz said Lu Hai Feng has obtained a fishing licence from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro Industries and it involved 20 vessels.
"Each vessel cost RM100 million which means the total cost of the vessels are about RM2 billion. From their initial planning and proposal submitted to the Kedah government for consideration, the initial investment is about RM1 billion.
The proposal has already been discussed by the state economic planning council and has been approved by the state executive council which has decided that KIFT would be located in Temengau, near Kuala Kedah," he said.
Mukhriz said the project would involve sea reclaimation work to allow vessels to dock and unload their catch from the Indian Ocean.
"They said Kedah was a strategic location up North and can receive fish landings from the Indian ocean. They (Lu Hai Feng) have no other place to set up the terminal except in Kedah.
He said the fish terminal would not only benefit local fishermen as they are close to the coast line but also the deep sea fishing industry.
"When I asked the Kedah Fishermen's Association about the setting up of the terminal, they responded very favourably as it would open the market to new technology and in return we will provide them with necessary facilities.
"I am optimistic the project will provide fresh impetus to the fishing industry in Kedah and the country as a whole. The project would not only be built in phases but also create 20,000 high paying jobs and have a positive impact on the state and country's Gross Domestic Product," he said.
The KIFT project will be undertaken as soon as possible as both parties were still fine tuning several issues.-Bernama