Two thirds of Pingtan vessels still idle two years after Indo fishing ban


Chinese fishing firm Pingtan Marine Enterprise still has two thirds of fishing vessels idle in port more than two years after Indonesia announced a moratorium on fishing in its waters.

However, the firm returned to gross profitability of $9.9 million in the fourth quarter of last year, due to decreases in fuel cost, labor cost and maintenance fee as a result of the moratorium, according to its quarterly report.

US-listed Pingtan also moved more vessels to other fishing territories in the period, it said.

“In 2016 we were dedicated to expanding into new fishing territories, and we have achieved substantial progress in the fourth quarter,” said Zhuo Xinrong, chairman and CEO of Pingtan.

The firm deployed 13 vessels to Indo-Pacific waters, two large-scaled squid jigging vessels to the international waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and four tuna longline vessels to the international waters of the Pacific Ocean in the three months to Dec. 31. 

“Through these efforts, we started to recover our production capacity to about 30%,” said Zhuo.

He said that looking forward, Pingtan would “continue to focus on expanding our fishing regions to increase harvest volume and enrich product mix and to innovative”, adding the firm is looking to further penetrate sales into mainland China and the retail market.

However, with Indonesia still not renewing fishing licences, the company’s financial results “will continue to be materially adversely affected,” it said.

Since the decision Pingtan, which was the main firm fishing in the area, has seen revenues slump by two-thirds and approximately 100 vessels of its 135-vessel fleet are idle in port. 

Indonesian government introduced a moratorium on issuing new fishing licenses and renewals to fight illegal fishing activities in December of 2014. 

The company’s expectation is that the Indonesian government will implement new fishing policies and resume the license renewal process, “although this still has not happened”, it said.

Fourth quarter revenues at the firm were $13.2m, down 6% year-on-year. Full year revenues were down 66.6% to $20.5m, with the firm reporting a gross loss of $8.8m.

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