A new ice plant set up to help develop Somaliland’s indigenous fishing sector is now providing significant benefits by enabling local fishermen to sell their catches in markets throughout the country.
Based in Berbera, the ice plant first began production two months ago and after a bedding-in period is now working to its full potential.
The ice plant, which is owned and operated by Pontus Marine, is unique for the region in that it produces flake ice that is then compacted into blocks for use on fishing vessels. The ice stores considerably longer in this form and can then be cracked to produce flake ice, which is efficient at cooling the catch quickly and ensuring it is kept in good condition.
The ice will principally be used by vessels targeting pelagic fish such as tuna and kingfish. Once landed ashore, the catch is washed and sorted at the Pontus handling facility in Berbera before being sent to markets throughout Somaliland.
The ice plant is part of multi-phase company development advised by fishery consultant MacAlister Elliott & Partners Ltd (MEP) to boost Somaliland’s fishery sector.
With the ice plant now working at full capacity, the next phase will involve the development of a fully functional primary processing facility that will enable the development of new overseas markets for fresh fish. Pontus Marine has the crowd-funding support of over 1,000 investors looking to improve the economic fisheries potential of Somaliland.
Stephen Akester of MEP said: “Rather than doing every aspect of the company development plan in one fell swoop, the investors have adopted a phased approach where we resolve any inevitable teething problems one step at a time before moving to the next phase.”
“We are delighted that the ice plant is now working well and Pontus will shortly be focusing their efforts in putting the infrastructure in place to develop new export markets for high quality and sustainably caught Somaliland fish,” Akester pointed out.